Tuesday, April 28, 2015

If ye are Prepared, ye shall not Fear.

Last week we had "changes". We sent home 5 missionaries on Monday and welcomed 7 new missionaries on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am. This was a smaller group and it is nice because it can be a little more personal. Then at 11:00 am, other transfers and change of companions was revealed to about 100 missionaries. It is pretty crazy. The first couple of times that Mark and I did this, it was pretty hard and we got a little stressed out. But eventually, we figured out what we were doing and it got a lot better. We have learned now to relax and enjoy the process.

                                                A fine group going home: Zone Leaders and
                                                                Sister Training Leaders

When the new missionaries arrive on Tuesday morning, we have a fun tradition. The first thing we do is take them to the beach! It is the only time on their mission they can go there. The beach is off limits to missionaries. The beach is about 15 minutes from Chiclayo and is in a small town called Pimentel. We take the missionaries down on the beach and have them make a boat out o fa pice of thin paper. Then my husband tells them a story about Fernandez Cortez. In the 1500's he came from Spain to conquer Mexico. Many before him had tried and failed. But this time was different. After getting settled on the land, Cortez commanded his men to burn all the boats. For these men, the decision was either to conquer or die because they were never returning to Spain.

                                               An excited new group at Pimentel Beach

After telling this intriguing story, my husband commands all the missionaries to burn their boats! They are each given a lighter and literally burn their boats. My husband explains that there is no going back and we are all Peruvian now. It is a powerful moment for some. But if nothing else it is really fun! Who knew that a mission could be that fun!

My husband always makes the Assistants get a trash barrel full of water to throw the burning boats in. After getting soaking wet a couple of times, they got smart and started asking people on the beach to fill it up for them. It has been a good thing, as some have been curious about what we are doing and we have been able to make a few contacts!

                                          Those are two huge headless fish hanging from the
                                           trunk of the car. There were two on top also. No
                                           wrap or cover. This was a definite Peruvian
                                                                  moment for us!

The past week has been pretty memorable for us. On Saturday, April 18, 2015, Mark had the priviledge of baptizing a man that he had the opportunity to interview. It was a great occasion. His wife has been a member for a year and three months. She bore a beautiful testimony at the baptism. They also have a six year old son. These to me, are always the best baptisms, that unite a family in the gospel. It is such a beautiful thing for the whole family to be members and to start preparing to go to the temple. This is what missionary work is all about.

                                              Baptism of Antonino Maldonado Mendeza

On the following Saturday, April 25, 2015, we had the priviledge to witness the baptism of Jose, Lisbeth, Joseline and Daniella. What a wonderful occasion. The Spirit was so strong and there were so many members there to support them. I had the opportunity to play the piano and the hermanas who taught them, sang a duet of "When I am Baptized" and "He Sent His Son". There have been a few times in my fifty three years when I have felt the Spirit so strongly helping me to play each note on the piano perfectly, but this was one of those times. Through music, a beautiful spirit was brought to the baptism. After the baptism all four, individually, bore their testimonies and it was unforgettable, the spirit we all felt. These are true converts to the gospel. They bore their testimonies of the Book of Mormon, of Joseph Smith, of the restoration of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. It was absolutely a perfect day.

                                             The Baptism: Hermana Thruston, Daniella,
                                            Lisbeth, Jose, Joseline and Hermana Hebdon

The morning of the baptism, Jose and Lisbeth were married, after 17 years of living together! It was pretty exciting. After the baptism we were invited to a celebration in honor of them and their marriage. It was our first official "fiesta" that we have attended in Peru and it was pretty fun. Their were decorarions, music and tons of food, including a wedding cake! They kept bringing plates of food around and we were expected to take some. A few times I tried to decline, but Jose got a little upset with me! We had crackers with a cream cheese mixture, potato balls with mustard, wontons with ham in them, little pastry shells with chicken salad and little chocolates with marshmellow in them. Thank goodness, it was nothing too unusual for us. Those were the h'doeuvres. Next we had the main course, greasy fried chicken (a staple in the Peruvian diet), a really good tamale, very moist, but only one bite of chicken in it and a beet and potato salad, which was actually really good. We also had maracuya juice, which is passion fruit and it was very good. I really liked it. I know Eric and Brian really liked that when they were here!

The Newlywed Couple 

Before we left, Jose thanked us profusely for all we had done for them, which really wasn't that much, but I was impressed with his humility and gratitude. He walked us to our car, to make sure we were safe and said that he hoped all of God's choicest blessings would be upon us. That is a touching thing that Peruvians say to family and friends that they love a lot. We had kind of tried to get out of going, but knew that we needed to fellowship these good people. I was really glad that we went. It was a wonderful experience to be with the saints of that ward and feel of their love and their spirit.

Last week was actually a very eventful week for us. We had a Stake Conference the weekend of April 18-19, Changes on Monday and Tuesday, a visit from President Uceda of the Area Presidency, and a Young Women "Standards Night" that we were asked to speak at. I spoke or bore my testimony about seven times this past week. President Uceda met with us for three hours and listened to every thing going on in our mission, listened to our concerns and gave us some very good counsel. It was so nice to talk to him. He is so positive and so kind and he speaks excellent English. He has been a member of the church from the very beginning of the church in Peru and he is very aware of the challenges that are here. He has an incredible amount of experience, wisdom and insight. We will be going on a mission tour with him in August or September.

                                                      A memorable Stake Conference


The Standard's Night was an interesting experience because we were prepared to talk about modesty and dating and there was only one Young Woman who came. They invited all the women in the ward, so we had a group of about 25 more "mature" women. They were very gracious and polite listening to information about dating and eternal marriage. The idea was to try to get a lot of less active Young Women to to come, but they didn't! We did have the sister missionaries there who invited us, so there were three Young Women who hopefully benefitted from it.

                                            The Young Women and sister missionaries of
                                                the Los Andes Ward in La Victoria Stake

This coming Thursday we will have the opportunity to travel to Lima for a conference for three days. Mostly, we are excited to attend the temple. It has been six months for Mark since he has been able to attend and only 2 1/2 for me, but we are used to going more than that and we miss it. We will be having a new temple dedicated in Trujillo on June 21, same day as the Payson Temple, but it is not in our mission so I don't know if we will be able to attend it. Trujillo is about two and a half hours from Chiclayo.

We have now experienced three earthquakes since we have been in Peru, one in Lima and two while we were in our apartment in Chiclayo. The last one was just Sunday. We are always on the seventh floor of the building and it is a little disconcerting. We can't just run out in the street and I am not jumping from the window as Brian suggested. The buildings here are built the same as those in Nepal, mostly bricks and no steel or support. Pretty much everything would just crumble. We decided after the one on Sunday that we should put together an emergency kit, in case we have to leave fast. It is amazing how much better I feel now that we are more prepared. It is a good feeling to know that we are spiritually prepared, also, for whatever may come. I know the gospel is true and that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ we will live again. I know that I will be with my husband and my family for eternity in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son. I have had a strong testimony and faith in our Father's plan for my whole life. The Holy Ghost has born witness to me on too many occassions, that these things are true, to ever be able to doubt.

1 comment:

  1. That's so awesome Jose and his family got baptized!!! That must be so neat to have been there from his first lesson and watch their transformation. I love you mom! And dad!