Epic Conference at La Merced this Week

So, as you all probably remember, I went to La Merced last week for a Multi-Zone conference.  It was an amazing conference and I really enjoyed all that I learned and did.

Well, let’s get started with the highlights.

After Internet last week, we headed off to the Zone Leader’s room to change into our P-Day clothes.  I wore my awesome Netherlands soccer jersey.  It was really fitting and everybody commented on how much weight I’ve lost.  They all said that I looked really good in my shirt considering I entered the field pretty chunky.  But, all of that is gone now and I look pretty darn fit.  Now I just need to do a more effective exercise routine each morning to refine what I’ve got going on.

After changing, we got in our van and headed to San Ramón! My first area was our destination for our P-Day! It was so exciting to see that the area looks exactly the same.  We went all the way up to Recreo Tirol! We entered the resort and when Hno Henry saw me, he was SOOOO surprised to see me and so happy that I made it!  He thought that I left Tarma and wasn’t going to make it.  We chatted for a while and he told me that Hna Susana (my first pensionista) is really sick.  She has cancer, and it is pretty fatal.  I felt a rock drop in my stomach and had to talk to her son Leo and husband Calet to see how they were doing.  Luckily, they both were at the resort working with Henry, so I got to chat with them.  They both are doing really well.  Calet is working hard and relies so much on the Lord.  Leo has stopped smoking and is working as well.  He also got his mission call!  He’s going to Colombia Bogotá North!  I am SOOO excited for him.  Oh, and he leaves on June 5th!  My Birthday!  It is terrible that Hna Susana is so sick, but it really seems that it has put things in perspective for Leo and Calet.

After chatting, we had an awesome lunch.  Oh, how I’ve missed San Ramon’s food…  We had fried chicken, real rice, a cole slaw, and some awesome fruit with ice cream.  Sooooo good! After that Hno Henry called us all over to the soccer field for a special moment.  We had a group prayer in behalf of Hna Susana.  He told us that in the scriptures we are told to gather as members to pray for the sick, afflicted, and other members of the church.  So, we had a really powerful prayer circle session.  One of the other missionaries that was “born” in San Ramón was asked to give the prayer.  I had never felt so much peace before.  There is real power in group prayer!

After that we went off to the waterfall Tirol.  I think it was my fifth time.  🙂  But, that’s all right.  It had been raining so much that we couldn’t even get close to the waterfall.  It was really really supercharged.  We had a good chat with some gringos that were just starting their hike.  It was a relief for them to speak some English!  We had a good time.  Then we returned to Recreo Tirol to play some soccer.

Then we returned to change again (it was really gross changing from our sweaty clothes without a shower) and went to do some contacts for the Zone Leaders.  It was fun as we had divisions.  Then we played with a little helicopter for an hour or so and then went to bed.  It was pretty fun since there were so many of us, but it wasn’t fun sleeping on the floor.

The next day we got up and headed off to the stake center for our conference.  It was a really awesome conference.  We got to listen to Pte Ardila teach us that he can’t solve every single problem.  The Lord certainly can, though.  He told us that we need to teach principles, then teach principles, then teach principles again until the people can solve their own problems and can govern themselves.  That was pretty awesome advice.  He also told us that at the end of our planning each day, we should plan for ourselves — what we want to learn, what we want to change, etc.  Pretty awesome.  Hna Ardila talked a lot about hygiene.  She told us that we should shower daily, open the doors and windows in the morning, and other tips to keep us clean.  Then she and Pte Ardila did a fingernail check.  It was a bit embarrassing for me since mine were just a bit too long.  Pte Ardila asked me “Why are your fingernails so long, Elder?” and I just said that I needed to cut them.  Then he reached into his pocket, and pulled out a nail clipper.  Handed it to me, and I cut my nails right then and there.  Really embarrassing, but really funny.

Then, we finished the conference with some awesome Pachamanca (meat and vegetables roasted Andean-style in an outdoor pit).  Really tasty, as usual.  Then we chatted.  I was sitting right next to Hna Ardila and Pte Ardila.  It was quite the chat.  Then we took photos, and finished the conference.

However, we had to get to Tarma quick since there are no cars to San Pedro after about 5:30.  So…  Pte Ardila took me and my companion with the sisters back to Tarma.  We were together for about an hour and a half.  And boy oh boy was it an experience.  First, Pte Ardila drives REALLY fast.  Second, I learned a lot from him, and he learned a lot about me.  I’m pretty sure it was an interview in a car, but it was fun.  We had a good chat and he and I are probably good friends now (well as good of friends as a missionary can be with his presidente!).  I have wanted to get to know him better, and was super happy to have that time.

Other than that, there isn’t really much to report.  Semana Santa (Holy Week) starts this week, but it’s transfers this week so who knows what will happen.  It has been quite the adventure in San Pedro de Cajas.  I am happy to stay — I can definitely do more, but if it is time for another missionary to reap the seeds that I planted then that’s okay.

On to your questions and comments:

Mom — It sounds like it has been a good experience picking songs for Primary.  Every calling is from God and we can learn from any position or job that we are assigned.  Elder Calle and I “borrowed” one of the nine primary song books from the chapel to sing after our planning sessions.  It is quite fun with his CDs.  Makes me think a lot about my primary years…

Sounds like you are having fun with Aunt Sus and her visit.  Send her a “hi” from me.  And, awesome that Pasha is headed to Washington DC South!  I love to hear about the mission calls in the family.

You asked about my boots.  I LOVE MY BOOTS.  I wear them every single day here in San Pedro.  They’re waterproof and you never know if you step in a puddle.  They do get dirty pretty quickly though.

I’m feeling good.  My head hurts a bit, but I am doing great.  I feel full of energy.

Well, I’m off to have an adventure! Sure do love you all and talk to you next week!

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