I Do This For a Wise Purpose

The field is white already to harvest.

The field is white already to harvest.

Well, all I know is that the Lord does things for his own purposes. We don’t know what they are, and it make take a while to figure them out, but he does them for a reason.

Elder Mercado as the Angel Moroni

Elder Mercado as the Angel Moroni

We went again to Tunanmarca this week. This time I was smart and wore long pants.

We went again to Tunanmarca this week. This time I was smart and wore long pants.

I'm too tall to pass as a native here.

I’m too tall to pass as a native here.

The ruins and the sky.

The ruins and the sky.

Nasty cactuses

Nasty cactuses

This week, Elder Fitzgerald had to go to Lima for his papers. Something happened with the paperwork for the whole group of gringos who came in December, and they had to go to Ecuador to essential start over on documentation and paperwork. This meant that his companion, Elder Lema, was to join us all week long. He is actually still with us today.

We have been walking everywhere the past week. We’ve been doing so much stuff to try to keep a good balance between our area and theirs in Jauja. We tried to find a ton of families, we tried to visit members, and we tried our hardest to at least have some success. Yesterday, for example, we tried to visit nine different families that we know always receive us, but they were all gone. We may have failed here as numbers show — we didn’t have much success, but we got to know each other and had a decent time. I’m not going to lie — I’m feeling a little down and frustrated.

Now, I don’t know why it happened. I may not know. It was a hard week. We had some fun, but it’s not fun to make an accounting of your efforts and feel like you come up short. However, I came closer to my Heavenly Father. I know He hears and answers prayers. He really is there for us. And I love Him. I know He loves us. I know that He is interested in even the most minute details of our lives. He lives. His Son lives. They are always there for us.

So, I’m off to have an adventure this week. I have hope that things will be better this week. I guess it is another bit of the refiners fire. I’ve only got 50 days. I can do this. These two years have been the best and hardest thing that I’ve ever done.

With many llamas,

David

I convinced the sisters to get dressed up as Jaujinas. It always makes Olinda happy to deck out the gringos.

I convinced the sisters to get dressed up as Jaujinas. It always makes Olinda happy to deck out the gringos.

We white-washed our apartment walls this week.

We white-washed our apartment walls this week.

Maximo made sure that it was down right.

Maximo made sure that it was down right.

A sister gave me a turtle with a sombrero.

A sister gave me a turtle with a sombrero.

Another statue of the Virgin Mary to add to my collection.

Another statue of the Virgin Mary to add to my collection.

There Was a Change Wrought Upon Them

Elder Mercado and I in our matching ties. We're cools.

Elder Mercado and I in our matching ties. We’re cools.

So, there were emergency transfers in the district this week. Three of the elders, including my companion, all were sent to different areas in the mission. I have Elder Mercado now. He is from Costa Rica and has eight months in the mission. President Henderson has sent him to be with me to learn how to be a district leader. I imagine that I will finish the mission with him. It seems like we will get along really well, so it is a good change. I’m certain that we will have a ton of success.

There isn’t much else to report, really. Things are still trucking along in good ol’ Jauja. The darkness is starting to disappear and things are getting a lot better. We had a baptism in the branch and it was a great service. I was really happy to see someone make sacred covenants.

Cristany was finally baptized! Her mother made the gown for her older sister, and she wanted to use it. Christany is the first member in her family.

Cristany was finally baptized! Her mother made the gown for her older sister, and she wanted to use it. Christany is the first member in her family.

Look at MY camera!

Look at MY camera!

The Jauja elders and a baptism.

The Jauja elders and a baptism.

Cristany and her friends.

Cristany and her friends.

Sorry for the short update, but there really isn’t anything else to report! I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that God is our Heavenly Father. This is the true gospel! Hold to the Rod! The IRON ROD!

Anyway, have a great adventure this week. I’m off to have my own, with my new companion!

With many llamas,

David

Some interesting image of which I have no interpretation.

Some interesting image of which I have no interpretation.

"Born in Hell" is probably the funniest thing I have seen on a Peruvian car. They probably have no idea what it means.

“Born in Hell” is probably the funniest thing I have seen on a Peruvian car. They probably have no idea what it means.

This is a Peruvian facility (which is a word I understand better because of Spanish - facil = easy) where they farm trout.

This is a Peruvian facility (which is a word I understand better because of Spanish – facil = easy) where they farm trout.

Gigantic fresh water trout.

Gigantic freshwater trout.

Pachamanca, the Dirt Oven

So, since I talked to my family yesterday, I’m certain that they’ll put a bunch of updates as part of this letter, so I won’t talk too much.

It has been a pretty good week. I’ve enjoyed myself quite a lot since I’ve been in Huancayo for meetings. We had a district leader conference (where I was both the district leader with the most time and most time as a district leader) and a multi-zone conference. They were both really nice and I got to eat some good food as part of the deal.

We’ve been trying to find people this week, but there just hasn’t been anyone around. They all must have been getting ready for the Mother’s Day celebrations. Mother’s Day is a pretty big holiday here, and they’ve all been making Pachamanca and being with family.

Elder Pizarro and I helped to make Pachamanca (which literally means Dirt Oven in Quechua) with Maximo and his family. I now know how to make it, so when I get back we can make some. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

The chef is making his masterpiece of Humita - Ground up corn mixed with sugar, Inca Cola, and other secret ingredients.

The chef is making his masterpiece of Humita – Ground up corn mixed with sugar, Inca Cola, and other secret ingredients.

The awesome oven in which we will bury the Pachamanca.

The awesome oven in which we will bury the Pachamanca.

The meat: 5 Kg of pork and four whole chickens.

The meat: 5 Kg of pork and four whole chickens.

The sweet potatoes, potatoes, and avas.

The sweet potatoes, potatoes, and avas.

Poor cuy...

Poor cuy…

Robinson eating some random body part of a cuy.

Robinson eating some random body part of a cuy.

Putting the humita in corn sheaves to cook.

Putting the humita in corn sheaves to cook.

Potatoes go in first with some hot rocks.

Potatoes go in first with some hot rocks.

Then the pork goes in.

Then the pork goes in.

Next, the chicken.

Next, the chicken.

Then the cuy.

Then the cuy.

A photo to prove I was there.

A photo to prove I was there.

After the cuy, goes the humita.

After the cuy, goes the humita.

Herbs are placed on the outside for flavor.

Herbs are placed on the outside for flavor.

Blankets are laid on top to hold in vapor and heat.

Blankets are laid on top to hold in vapor and heat.

Tarps are placed around the oven for protection.

Tarps are placed around the oven for protection.

The tired chef.

The tired chef.

Time to eat PACHAMANCA!

Time to eat PACHAMANCA!

So, that’s really about it. There isn’t much else to report since I’ve been out of my area for most of the week. I hope that you all have an adventure. Well, I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

UPDATES from Mom: We had a great video chat for Mother’s Day. There were some technical difficulties involving Skype and the microphones. David could see us, but not hear us. I was impressed with his good humor as he tried to figure it out. Finally, we switched to Google Hangouts and he did some techie magic and we had a good chat. He looked good — he was very happy and his accent was markedly less compared to Christmas. He said it was because he spends more time with gringos now that there are so many more missionaries. He is excited to finish his work, and worried that life is “about to slap him in the face” with the end of his mission. Elders Pizarro and Fitzgerald stuck their heads in to say “hello” and that was really fun.

Elder Van Komen also asked me to tell friends and family to PLEASE WRITE TO HIM!

(The flies like to sleep on the wooden bars that hold the roof up. Here are the spiders that capture them.)

(The flies like to sleep on the wooden bars that hold the roof up. Here are the spiders that capture them.)

Time Passes, People Move

Maximo is hugging a toad.

Maximo is hugging a toad.

I think I make a good toad. What do you think?

I think I make a good toad. What do you think?

Is this pose better?

Is this pose better?

Well, we are in May. What. How can that be? Wasn’t it JUST July of 2012? Am I really finishing in just over two months? That isn’t possible. I can’t believe it.

Anyway, quote of the day from Elder Fitzgerald – “Ever since I moved to Perú, I just want to eat chocolate each day.” Is it because of the lack of good chocolate? Is it the high sodium (salt) diet? I’ll let you all decide.

Our district!

Our district!

So, this week has been pretty awesome. We are really focusing on the less-active and inactive families. We have had seven lessons with less actives, but that doesn’t include the lessons with part-member families that we’ve been teaching. The work is progressing here in Jauja, and I am super excited.

Me with God's glorious creations.

Me with God’s glorious creations.

Laguna de Paca

Laguna de Paca

I’ve been working on diligence this past week (no, it isn’t because I’m trunky…). I really feel that I need to just go down fighting. Having just over two months is nothing. I have a transfer and two-thirds left. I can’t believe it. It is coming way too quickly. But, diligence is the antidote to being worried about the future. We are diligent with what the Lord has given us, trust Him, and then He takes care of all of the details.

We’ve been seeing that principle here. We finally had a baptism (the other elders) in Jauja and things are lightening up. We can feel a difference in the atmosphere of the city and things are starting to fill with Light. The enemy of all righteousness isn’t happy. He worked so hard last week to stop that baptism — he targeted the boy’s mother’s insecurity about the truth of the work. He tried to make the young man who was about to baptized have “hot” feet (the water was really warm!). He did everything in his power. But we, including the Lord, beat him. We are really ready to get moving.

About the plan that I mentioned last week, the stake president even likes it, and might even use it as a basis for the rest of the stake. Wow. It just goes to show that sometimes people just need a game plan to get moving. I hope they take it and make progress.

So, that’s about it for the week. Things are trucking along. I love the work and the Lord. Have a great adventure!

With many llamas,

David

The sisters sat in the back of the car because they wanted to get a different view!

The sisters sat in the back of the car because they wanted to get a different view!

All right, I learned my lesson. Baking powder loses its punch after several months. (Actually, almost a year.)

All right, I learned my lesson. Baking powder loses its punch after several months. (Actually, almost a year.)

I shouldn't have cooked the brownies in a pan greased by pure butter...

I shouldn’t have cooked the brownies in a pan greased by pure butter…

 THE FIRST BAPTISM IN JAUJA SINCE NOVEMBER!!

THE FIRST BAPTISM IN JAUJA SINCE NOVEMBER!!

 

A little kid in our branch makes awesome clay figures of Pokémon.

A little kid in our branch makes awesome clay figures of Pokémon.

He LOVES these little pocket monsters.

He LOVES these little pocket monsters.