Jauja, Yet Again, But This Time with Progress

It was also Elder Gonzales' birthday this week! The branch threw a party as part of our ward mission night.

It was Elder Gonzales’ birthday this week! The branch threw a party as part of our ward mission night.

The standard biting of the cake.

The standard biting of the cake.

Yes, I was present. No, I am not (too) crazy

Yes, I was present. No, I am not (too) crazy

A good birthday followed by chicken at El Meson.

A good birthday followed by chicken at El Meson.

So, transfers were last week and I am still in Jauja. I am still with Elder Pizarro. We are still having a blast.

On our division, we also found a cute little dog! Her name is Lady.

On our division, we also found a cute little dog! Her name is Lady.

Yes, she is a stray (and probably has fleas), but she is our stray. All of the big bad dogs try to follow her around, but I just kick them.

Yes, she is a stray (and probably has fleas), but she is our stray. All of the big bad dogs try to follow her around, but I just kick them.

This week, we have been working on putting together a big mission plan for the branch. Things are ready to get moving here in Jauja. I’d like to share part of that plan to show how we are going to tackle this most upsetting situation.

First and foremost, the plan is divided in four phases. Each of the phases has a list of ideas for the branch to get things to work, along with a ton of scriptures, which I will list under each of the phases.

Phase 1 – Fortify Branch and Establish the Cause of Zion

D&C 6:6 Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion;

D&C 64:33-34 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.

Phase 2 – Become a Fully-Functioning Ward

Mosiah 18:19-21 And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets. Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people. And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

D&C 107:99-100 Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence. He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.

 Phase 3 – Divide the Ward

 D&C 82:14 For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

Alma 31:5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.

Phase 4 – Become a Stake and Endure to the End 

Moses 1:39  For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

D&C 18:10-17  Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath arisen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.

If there is one thing that I have learned from all of the hard areas of the mission, it is that there needs to be a well organized plan, with goals, actions, and, of course, a final goal. We presented this plan to the members, with all of our ideas, and they all took it at once. The leaders were actually excited to get working. We are excited to get working, and of course, the Lord is probably very pleased.

I know that this is the Work of the Lord and it is His Work of Salvation. He is interested in all of the details of our lives, and especially in His plan and His work. He loves each and every one of us and desires our salvation, for behold, this is His work and His glory!

Jauja is progressing, and it is ready for a huge change. I just hope that all works well.

Well, I’m off to have an adventure. Hope that you all have one as well!

With many llamas,

David

On our division this week, Elder Fitzgerald and I found a gigantic spider in their room. It started to climb the walls, so we killed it.

On our division this week, Elder Fitzgerald and I found a gigantic spider in their room. It started to climb the walls, so we killed it.

 

Here Comes the Sun

The majesty of the Peruvian mountains.

The majesty of the Peruvian mountains.

So, things are looking up here in Jauja. The rain has all but stopped and the streets have stopped turning into rivers.  Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here.

When we went to one of our smaller towns, I found some girls playing on some (awfully out of tune) snare drums. They let me put one on and play!

When we went to one of our smaller towns, I found some girls playing on some (awfully out of tune) snare drums. They let me put one on and play!

I played with them as well. They were pretty amazed with my skilz.

I played with them as well. They were pretty amazed with my skilz.

The best part is that Holy Week is over! For Easter, we learned how Jaujinos and Huancayinos celebrate the Holy Week. They have varying events leading up to Resurrection Sunday. They have a billion parades, parties, activities, and just for us, all of the people are either with their families or out of town! So, what does that mean, my friends and family? That no one wants to listen! That appointments fall through the roof! It was (not really) fantastic!

We had a great activity as a ward this week. We visited a small town and just enjoyed everything that was happening. We went to a field and just had a great time. I’ll let the pictures tell some of the story. They were expecting a small group of maybe 15-20 to show up, but to their surprise (and consternation) over 70 people showed up! So it was awesome to see tons of people.

We went to a ward activity this week and had some fun. For one game they had to stack cans.

We went to a ward activity this week and had some fun. For one game they had to stack cans.

They had balloons filled with flour for a question activity. It was Elder Fitzgerald and I against each other. I won, obviously.

They had balloons filled with flour for a question activity. It was Elder Fitzgerald and I against each other. I won, obviously.

Elder Gonzales is acting like an old man.

Elder Gonzales is acting like an old man.

We were up against all of the little kids at the activity.

We were up against all of the little kids at the activity.

We lost a tug-of-war competition. However, the rope broke.

We lost a tug-of-war competition. However, the rope broke.

They were amazingly strong.

They were amazingly strong.

Maximo and Olinda with Olinda's sister and her family.

Maximo and Olinda with Olinda’s sister and her family.

Sunday was an interesting learning experience for me. I was totally expecting a very spiritual meeting that would just blow my socks off with their knowledge of the Atonement. I was so ready! But, to my surprise and disappointment, the meeting was not centered around Easter — not the hymn selections or the messages were about Easter. It was honestly a big let-down. But I learned a lesson from it: don’t just rely on others for spiritual fulfillment. Yes, it would have been awesome to have been spiritually fed that way, but I learned how to take control of it. Easter is about Christ, and it is up to me for how I celebrate it. So, I’m totally fine.

Anyway, it was a great week. Thanks for all of your support. Hope that you have a great time and that all goes well! I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Are You Letting Your Faith Show?

It rained and rained this week. Since I was already soaking, I decided to be like a little kid again and walk in the river of water.

It rained and rained this week. Since I was already soaking, I decided to be like a little kid again and walk in the river of water.

I'm such a dork.

I’m such a dork.

So, there have been a few themes this week that I’ve been thinking a lot about. First and foremost: Faith. People tell that I have a lot of faith, but I have a hard time seeing it. It made me wonder if I really am getting closer to my Savior, or not. I have also wondered a lot about the enabling power of the Atonement (Dad, your thoughts on the grace offered by the Lord are fantastic guides for me). It made me realize that I have to get better at understanding these things. And beyond that, it led me to realize how to help the members here. They need to understand the cycle of Faith, Hope, and Charity coupled with the Atonement. It is a fantastic cycle that I hope that each of you have the time to study this week.

This week has been very standard. Due to traveling to Huancayo (an hour and fifteen minute bus ride each time), we haven’t had a ton of time in our area which is unfortunate. However, things are moving forward. We are excited to keep working. Elder Fitzgerald and our companions and I are working on a several phase plan that we can put in action in the next few weeks that can help guide the members here. I think that all efforts in the gospel should be directed in a way that we know where we are going. Especially when we think of it this way: we are ultimately aiming for eternal life in an exalted state, correct? Well, what steps are we taking to get there? Well, we better find out!  I’m going to take some time and think about that. How am I helping the Lord in His grand work of Salvation?

So, that’s my goal this week. To focus on what I’m doing and really just hit the ground running. We have a TON of work to do here in Jauja. We find more layers to the problem each and every day that goes by. It is honestly pretty sad how dark parts of this city are, but that’s why we’re here. For some reason, Heavenly Father and His Son have put each of us where we are for some purpose. I don’t know what it is, and I may never see the fruits of such work. But I know that They are watching out for each of us.

Here's Elder Fitzgerald harvesting avas, which are like flavorless lima beans. We were helping out Maximo.

Here’s Elder Fitzgerald harvesting avas, which are like flavorless lima beans. We were helping out Maximo.

It was a lot of fun.

It was a lot of fun.

Anyway, have a fantastic week! Hope that you all take some time to reflect on your lives and take the time to make the necessary changes. That is the goal. We all strive to become perfect through our Savior some day.

So… I’m off to have an adventure! Have a great week!

With many llamas,

David

A statue of the Virgin Mary in Concepción. She's apparently the biggest in all of South America, so go figure.

A statue of the Virgin Mary in Concepción. She’s apparently the biggest in all of South America, so go figure.

A member must have had a good vibe and just known that I LOVE dark chocolate. So, here's a bar of 70% cocao chocolate!

A member must have had a good vibe and just known that I LOVE dark chocolate. So, here’s a bar of 70% cocao chocolate!

Love Is the Very Essence of the Gospel

Sorry I’m a day late! Yesterday, we had interviews with Pte Henderson and then a regular work day. So, today is a relaxing P-day!

Olinda (our pensionista) dressed up the sisters in our district as traditional Jaujinas.

Olinda (our pensionista) dressed up the sisters in our district as traditional Jaujinas.

So, conference has come and gone. It was my last as a missionary, and boy was it powerful. I was fortunate to listen and attend each session (even though I missed President Packer’s talk…). We watched conference with Maximo and Olinda on their cable television. On Sunday went to the stake center with the branch, and I watched one session in English.

There were some amazing talks and I loved all of them. However, my favorite talks were President Monson’s on Sunday morning, Elder Bednar’s on Sunday Morning, and President Uchtdorf’s in the Priesthood session. They were all directed at me. The best quote, however, was this by President Monson…

“Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.”

It was perfect for our branch. Everyone left inspired and with the determination to do good. I was so grateful for the hand of God in each message. I felt the Spirit and I know that what they said is true. This is the truth! Don’t doubt, only believe.

So, this week has been pretty good. We’ve been doing our best to help others on their way in this life. We’ve taught some less actives, visited some investigators, and just have had a good week. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but there are now four elders in Jauja. They came out about two weeks ago. However, there was another little change because one of the Elders that came was then sent to another area. Elder Fitzgerald is now here and we also have Elder Gonzales, a Bolivian, who was pulled out of Venezuela. it is pretty exciting to see how much the Lord cares about my little Jauja. I can’t wait to see things move along!

Well, that’s just about it for the week. I realize that my letters are getting shorter or less full of exciting things as time goes by, but I find that nothing super exciting is happening right now. The Gospel is true, and I can feel it each day. I know that my Savior loves me and everyone else. It is true.

Anyway, I’m off to have an adventure! Hope you all have a great one as well!

With many llamas,

David

For P-Day, we went up to the Ruins of Shuju, which are located up in the mountains. Here is a picture overlooking the entire valley.

For P-Day, we went up to the Ruins of Shuju, which are located up in the mountains. Here is a picture overlooking the entire valley.

Maximo, our trusty tour guide.

Maximo, our trusty tour guide.

The ruins were super awesome. They are set up in a row across the mountain, in a type of fortress or protection formation.

The ruins were super awesome. They are set up in a row across the mountain, in a type of fortress or protection formation.

They have been kept very well, and show that they overlooked the whole valley to protect the natives from enemies.

They have been kept very well, and show that they overlooked the whole valley to protect the natives from enemies.

It was raining back in Jauja, and the rain made an awesome rainbow.

It was raining back in Jauja, and the rain made an awesome rainbow.

Contemplating the majesty of God's creations. It was just fantastic.

Contemplating the majesty of God’s creations. It was just fantastic.

Seriously fantastic.

Seriously fantastic.