The front of our house. Its hard to see in the light,
but there is a wood door, some gray stone and
a wood garage door. The windows up top are
from our bedroom.
These are the cute garbage collector ladies in our
neighborhood. They push the cart around together
and pick up our garbage three times a week. They
were so proud of the treasures they find like a shirt or a
pair of pants or recycling materials. "Gifts" they said.
This is a park being developed in our neighborhood.
We hope it is finished before we leave.There are 3
or four trees and some patches of grass.
This is the faithful groundskeeper. He is always
working. One day Mark asked him how he liked
taking care of the park that was not. He laughed
so hard! Mark always makes people happy.
We are very happy to be in our house. It is a quiet and peaceful place; no noise or busy traffic. And we have so much more space. I didn't realize how cramped we were in our apartment until we moved into this house. We have large closets now for our clothes, in fact we each have our own. We have much more cupboard space in the kitchen. We have a small courtyard with grass and a patio and we have a balcony outside our second story bedroom! The other night we sat on our balcony and watched the most amazing clouds. They were moving fast for clouds. They really were beautiful in the blue sky. Some of them were huge! They looked like giant ships gliding slowly through blue water. It made me feel more at home to know that some things are the same in Peru, like clouds, dirt and wind.
Stairs and Living Room
Living Room and Dining Room. That is the
garage door in the background. The wall is
all windows to the outside.
It is the middle of summer and miserably hot, and we are without air conditioning. After they got all the new air conditioning units installed in our house, they realized that there was not enough electrical power to support them. And they were right. It has been quite a trying experience for two over- indulged spoiled Americans. For example, we cannot run the air conditioning and the washer and dryer at the same time. We cannot run the air conditioning and use the oven. I cannot use the oven and do laundry at the same time. It has been quite a juggling act to get everything done that we need to and still remain halfway comfortable. We only have air conditioning in two rooms, our bedroom and the office. I call those two rooms the cool zones! They are an oasis for us.
Mark's new office; much bigger and carpeted!
Our bedroom. A cool spot.
We have had people here at our house working for three weeks now to get this all figured out. I am sure they are thinking we are pretty demanding and needy Americans and that we expect to live in great luxury. I love air conditioning and in Chiclayo, in the summer it can be miserable! It has been really good for us to remember that this is how the missionaries live all the time. I don't know how they ever cool off. They have no air conditioning in their apartments and none in any of the homes they visit. A lot of the churches and most public buildings do not have it either.
Our cute kitchen. I love the red!
In order to get us the power we need the electric company had to hook up a new connection to the power line. The greatest problem was to find it! One day two men came with a sledge hammer and just starting making holes and digging. First they put a big hole in the road in front of our house, but then decided that the line was not there. So next, they dug out a huge hole through the sidewalk. They had to dig down six feet in order to connect to the line. They worked out in the hot sun for many hours for two days, but finally they found it. It was a reason to celebrate! Our sidewalk will never look the same again, but we will be nice and cool in our house!
We found a man under our sidewalk!
We have a very small yard now, so we have a gardener. When they told us he would be coming three times a week, we were astounded. Our yard is about 40 feet by 20 feet and it is just a little grass with three tiny trees! The first day the gardener came, we left to go inspect rooms. When we returned two hours later, I expected the grass to be neatly trimmed and that the yard would be perfect. There had been a few weeds and the grass was long. We were surprised to see that after two hours of work, it did not look any different! The gardener did this for three days in a row. I really am not sure what he did! Mark and I went out and worked in the yard for thirty minutes to pull the weeds and trim some grass. The only tools we had were scissors! It was very stressful and crazy trying to do the yard with scissors, but we do not have any other garden tools. Our gardener uses clippers to cut our grass which are not much better. Where is Tucker when you need him! He could have had it done it in five minutes!
Our huge yard/courtyard/carport/garage. We
have a little patio to the left. The cement is
for our cars.
Guest Room and underneath the Den.
We have an empty lot on the right of our house, a house on the left of our house and an empty lot behind our house. The houses in Peru are built right next to each other, even in the nicest
neighborhood in Chiclayo. So we share a wall with our neighbors on the left. It is interesting. We have a park. There are a few patches of grass on one side and a few trees, but that is it. It is not finished. But it is quiet and we have space! My favorite part of our neighborhood is the lot behind our house because there are four baby owls that live there! They are so adorable. We noticed them the first morning we walked by there and now we look for them every time we walk. Some of them have favorite spots where they love to perch.
The baby owls on one of their favorite perches.
Some days we only see one or two, but the lucky days are when all four of them are hanging out together. I can see them from the window of our office, because it is at the back of our house. So I just watch them sometimes with my binoculars. Yesterday, all four of them were there and I realized that they have two nests back there. They are in holes under the sidewalk! I saw two of them resting there and the other two were close by. It has been so fun to watch them learn how to fly and go further distances. I don't know how to explain how cute they are! When we get a little closer we can see their cute little faces looking at us and they turn their heads all the way around the cute way that owls do that!
Our baby owl friends. They really blend in with
the environment. In the background is the back of our house.
This is the Local Bird Preserve right by the gate of our "Gated"
Community: They are vultures eating garbage!
One day after getting semi-settled in our house, we had Multi-Zone Conference. We literally had one day to prepare, but like always, we had a lot of help, from the office elders and from above. We felt the need to emphasize the study of Preach my Gospel every day. It is the key to missionary work. I have fallen in love with that book. It has helped me so much to understand how missionary work is carried out. I did not have the opportunity to serve a proselyting mission, so this has been on the job training for me. Preach my Gospel has been a great blessing to me and I have gained a strong testimony that it is a very inspired book. It was written by prophets of God, just like the scriptures. I believe that it may be the second most correct book on earth!
Zone Conference March 18-19, 2016
"Tengo un testimonio de Predicad mi Evangelio."
We also focused on the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion. There would be no missionary work without this miraculous book. The world is full of false teachings and doctrines, as Nephi prophesied there would be (2 Ne. 28:7-9). The Book of Mormon teaches us the truth. I have learned more powerfully, on this mission, the importance of the Doctrine of Christ. There is no other book of scripture, or otherwise, that states the Doctrine of Christ so clearly and so powerfully as the Book of Mormon does. It leaves no question about the way to come unto Christ. This is what missionaries do. We invite people to come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the way that the Lord has determined will lead us to Him and the Book of Mormon leaves us no doubt that there is no other way.
My favorite passage about this doctrine is in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:31-40. This passage is incredibly powerful and very sobering.
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
"And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me . . .
"And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father;
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent and, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
"And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock . . .and the gates of hell stand open to receive such . . ."
Did the Lord not get across His point?! How do men manage to come up with so many other ideas and false teachings? How have they been so blinded? The Book of Mormon teaches us the truth! We need not be confused or blinded by the craftiness of men.
"Battleship" at Zone Conference.
There is no missionary work without these amaz-
Last Saturday we had the opportunity to attend the baptism of a cute little grandma named Lucretia who was in a wheelchair and could not even walk. She was a tiny little lady with long dark hair. I would have never known she was a grandma. Both of the Elders who taught her had to carry her into the font and baptize her together. Her testimony was so simple and sweet. and her three granchildren were also there. After the program, I had the opportunity to meet them. They were so proud of their grandma. They said, "This is our Abuelita!" (Little Grandma) I was touched that they were willing to come to a meeting they did not understand, to support their "Abuelita."
Goodbye to Hermana Valdebenito of Chile
We have been on our mission for 20 months now! It is so amazing! When missionaries tell me they have been out for 20 or more months, I automatically know they are very experienced and seasoned missionaries. So I feel that Mark and I are pretty experienced and seasoned missionaries. We do feel much more comfortable and confident in what we are doing. It is a great feeling. We have come a long way. Meetings are much easier to plan and it takes much less time to prepare. I used to spend hours preparing to train the Hermana Leaders. And speaking in Spanish is much easier. We still have our moments when we are frustrated with our inability to express ourselves, but know that the Lord has blessed us with the gift of tongues and that we have been able to get our message across despite our weaknesses.
Saying goodbye to Hermana Guillen
from Colombia. A faithful leader.
In D&C 130:19 it says: "And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." I love the fact that we gain the most knowledge through obedience and diligence. After 20 months in the mission field, I have gained a much greater testimony of these principles because I can see now how I have grown and all that I have learned. This mission has not been easy for me and I have struggled many times with many things, but I have tried to be diligent and obedient. I have tried to study the scriptures every day just like the missionaries do and I have studied Preach my Gospel and the Spanish language every day. It has been extremely difficult and sometimes I have even done things begrudgingly.
At Pimentel Beach with the new arrivals.
Hungry new missionaries. Last break-
fast in the "old" Mission Home.
Thank goodness that the Lord is so merciful and that "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he has chosen." (1 Ne. 1:20) He takes us and uses us with all our weaknesses and our shortcomings. In the beginning, I studied Preach my Gospel because I was supposed to, but now I have a firm testimony that it is a book written through revelation by prophets of God. My knowledge of the gospel, the scriptures and the Doctrine of Christ have grown through studying this inspired book. In the mission, my testimony has grown more than I ever could have imagined. My knowledge and understanding of missionary work has grown and of how the church operates. I am grateful for all these experiences, good and bad, that have contributed to my growth. If we can just hold on when things get rough, and have faith in the Father's plan for our life, then we will know, "that ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6) I see now that I can be a much greater instrument in the mission, even than I was in the beginning, because of what I have learned and what I have experienced.
Saying goodbye to Cutter. El Gringito!
Treasures from Peru!