Friday, August 29, 2014

We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and we know that it is our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we serve. We would not be so far from our family and our home if we did not know that this is His true gospel that has been restored to the earth in the Latter days. Anyone can know if this is true by praying about it and reading the Book of Mormon. Some good people that we have talked to have told us that they already know Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as their Savior. But we say to you, that if you want to feel even closer to Jesus Christ and understand His atonement, then you can read the Book of Mormon and go to the Sunday services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. You will feel closer to Jesus Christ and understand his atonement in a way that you never have before in your life. If you truly love Jesus Christ, then we are sure that you would want this. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is a witness of Christ unlike anything else on this earth. It was translated by a prophet of God, Joseph Smith, and we have a living prophet on the earth today. We invite everyone to find out if these things are true.

                                          President and Sister Nuñez, our traveling companions.
                                          President Nuñez works for the church. He is over all
                                          the facilities in Chiclayo. He has actually helped us a lot
                                          with our apartment.

This place is starting to grow on me. It hit me last Sunday as we were driving home from a Conference. It's hard to explain, but it just felt like everything was the way it was supposed to be. Despite the garbage, the dust, the traffic, and the not so great food, it is definitely a unique and interesting place. If it was just like home and there were no challenges, then it would not be a great experience. One thing I find interesting is that many people who own a business, here in Peru, run it from their own home. Also, there are stores and businesses all over the place that are extremely hard to find and that you would never know were there. One day we went to a popular bakery, our maid had told us about, to buy a cake for a birthday. We had to ask other people where it was in order to find it. It was tucked away in a residential area between homes, with no sign. A lot of advertising here is done by word of mouth.

We were in Cajamarca last week and visited the home of one of our pensionistas (women who serve meals to the missionaries in their homes.) This woman and her family own a bakery. The bakery is in front of the home. Behind is the kitchen with dirt and concrete floors, no countertops and no refrigerator. Across from the kitchen was a huge room with a wood burning oven. There was only a huge old table covered in flour to do the kneading and mixing on. There were many wood shelves full of fresh rolls, pastries and croissants. We were given moon shaped bread that had a sweet caramel type of filling inside, similar to manjar blanco, which is very popular here. The bread was warm and delicious. Who would think that in this primitive place, something so wonderful could be created? The pensionista just kept giving us more and more bread to eat. We could not resist because it was dinner time, we were hungry, and it was so delicious. The living quarters were somewhere behind the business. It was very interesting. Sometimes the home is upstairs over the business. 

The next day we had a training meeting for all the pensionistas. This same woman attended and when asked to write down her name on a list, she asked another woman to write it for her. She declined the booklet that we handed out to all the pensionistas. I realized that she could not read or write and yet, she can make delicious fresh bread. What an amazing talent! I assume she does not need to refer to a recipe. She has an incredible gift that makes many people happy, including the missionaries. We met her four year old son, who had his growth stunted from an operation. He is the size of a one-two year old, but speaks and acts like a four year old. I watched him use his "freezing powers" on one of the missionaries. He was so dang cute!

Last week we were on the road for five days in a row. It was rewarding, but tiring. We drove to Cajamarca on Wednesday, had a meeting until 9:00 pm, then ate fruit and chips for dinner. My diet has definitely taken a turn for the worse! Thursday morning we had another training meeting, then spent the rest of the day driving all over Cajamarca looking at apartments for new missionaries coming to the area. Of the four rooms that we had appointments to look at, we only saw one. The owners had many varied reasons why we could not look at them. We also inspected some of the missionarie's apartments. For the most part they were pretty clean and well cared for. But very small. At one apartment a little dirty puppy started following us and crying. I did not know how to help him. I don´t know if there are any animal shelters in Peru

.                                         Views of the Andes mountains on the highway to

We had our pensionista training meeting on Friday, then had the best turkey sandwich that I think I have had in my life, or at least it tasted like it at the moment. I had been craving a turkey sandwich ever since we came here, but they are very hard to find. There are two chains of grocery stores here. They are called Metro and Tottus. All of the malls here have a grocery store in them. So we went to the mall in Cajamarca and there was a huge Metro. That is where I found the turkey sandwich. There was a fresh roasted turkey sitting right in the window of the deli and it said, "Sandwich de pavo." (turkey sandwich) I could not believe it. So all four of us that were traveling together got one. The woman who made them took great pride in making them perfect. She grilled the turkey with a traditional hot sauce called "rojos", then put it on bread with mayonnaise, mustard, tomatoes and lettuce. It tasted so good!

After lunch, we made the long windy drive home. We were pretty worn out when we got home Friday evening and yet, my poor husband had three talks to prepare for a District Conference on Saturday and Sunday.  We have two districts in our mission. They are made up of branches and function much like a stake, except that the District President has limited responsibilities. Mark is considered the Stake President and has to do all temple recommend interviews, other interviews, church courts and District Conferences.

                                                    Check out the bottom of the pink box.
                                                    Preside: Pdte Mark L. Williams
So, on Saturday, we left again to go to the Guadalupe District Conference. Mark had a Priesthood Training Meeting and we did a training meeting with all the women leaders in the District; Relief Society, Primary and Young Women. Mark assured me that I was just to attend and that the other three women were going to do the training. I sat talking with these women for an hour and a half before the meeting and then one minute before it started, they asked if I would give a welcome to the women! It really would have been nice to have a little more notice when I do not know the language very well! I do not understand the way things are done here sometimes! I am learning to just be prepared anywhere I go. I am developing a whole file of talks and testimonies.

                                          Sister Nuñez and I. She is gorgeous and has been very
                                           kind and helpful to me. Wish I could communicate
                                           better with her.

I had a very interesting and surprising experience because they asked another American lady to come and translate for me and to help with the meeting. We started talking and she casually asked me where I grew up. I said that I grew up in Modesto, CA. She said, "Really!? I lived there for a few years!" She moved there after I had already left and got married and my family had moved also, but it turns out that she was in my former ward and lived on the same street where I grew up! Then she said that we probably knew some of the same people and asked, "Do you know the Jeppsons?" I just started to laugh. Many of you know that Leslie Jeppson was and is my best friend and that her parents were like second parents to me growing up. I just love them dearly. Well, apparently, after her mission to Texas, this woman had babysat Leslie's kids and they became very good friends. Her maiden name was Amy Haight. She is married now to a Peruvian man that lived in the United States for fifteen years. It is such a small world in the church! Unbelievable!

So I sat in this room on extremely uncomfortable hard chairs for three and a half hours. The women's meeting started thirty minutes late and got out late, five minutes before the Adult Evening Session. Sitting for so many hours (including the 11/2 hour drive there) made it kind of a long night, but the talks were excellent. The other speakers got a little long-winded and did not leave any time for Mark to speak. He literally spoke for three minutes. It was late and the saints were spent, so he did the right thing. Despite being short, it was actually an amazing talk and several members told him they would never forget that talk. He gave a quote by Elder Bednar saying that we are not the ones hastening the work, the Lord is the one hastening the work. Then he asked all of his missionaries to stand up. (I forgot to stand up. I keep forgetting that I am a missionary too!) All of the fulltime missionaries stood up. Then he said it again, "Will all of my missionaries stand up!" One lady finally got it and stood up and the rest of the congregation followed and stood up also. It was a memorable lesson for everyone there!

After the meeting, my new friend Amy, asked Mark if he knew anyone who played the piano. He said, "Yea, my wife!" The San Pedro Branch had gotten a choir together and had practiced three numbers for the Conference, but did not have anyone to play the piano, so I had the priviledge of playing for them. It was a wonderful experience and so fun practicing with them. They knew the songs well and sang with all their hearts. I got goosebumps as they sang "The Spirit of God." It is one Spanish hymn that is almost better in the translation. The chorus ends up rhyming as they sing, "Cantemos, Gritemos!" (We sing, we shout!) I think I will always love that hymn in Spanish from now on!

My new friend Chandre. He really liked me and was
going to take my picture, but I invited him to be in the
photo with me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
The Conference was wonderful! Mark and I were the concluding speakers. We both felt that the Lord blessed us so much with our talks. This was the first "real" talk that I have given and I was nervous, but the Lord gave me so much strength. I did not falter or lose my place one time and I was speaking in a foreign tongue. It was truly amazing! Mark said that my talk was a miracle and it really was! He also felt the Lord's help as words came to him in a rapid way that he had never felt before. His talk truly was powerful and so inspiring. Inactivity is a big problem here in Peru. There are 3,000 members in this District and only 500 of them are active. He asked the members to pray about at least one person that they could reach out to and rescue. The "rescatar" is receiving a big push from the Area Presidency here in our Area. It is what they have asked us to do and I have learned that my husband always does what he is asked to do! We are seeing miracles in the work here and know that they will continue as we do the                                                                     Lord's will.

No comments:

Post a Comment