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.

 

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.

 

I Have Graven Thee Upon the Palms of My Hands

1 Nephi 21:14-16

 14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.

 15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

So, yesterday was fast and testimony meeting in our little branch. I decided that I should share my testimony after wondering if I should get up. I have been re-reading the Book of Mormon with the intent to discover a love for the book, because I just don’t quite have it yet . A testimony of the book is no problem, but I desire to really love it. So, I shared with them this scripture. I told them that even thought the Lord had “brought them down” to being a branch, He would raise them up if they let Him and work with Him. The Spirit was so strong that I was trembling and couldn’t withhold my words. It was amazing.

Sister Henderson made me FRENCH BREAD.

Sister Henderson made me FRENCH BREAD.

Just look at this beauty. It was soooo tasty.

Just look at this beauty. It was soooo tasty.

So, I’ve been sick this week, so there haven’t been too many adventures because I’ve been so stuffed up that I just haven’t been paying attention. We have a baptism lined up for the 12th and things should be going fantastically for that investigator. We’re teaching another family where the entire branch has to be on board to help them out. It is exciting to see how the branch is finally starting to take responsibility for things that are happening here.

This Tuesday I got another call from Sister Henderson. She told me that they were running late to get to the Airport to pick up two brand new sister missionaries. They didn’t want them to freak out, so they sent me to go and meet them and let them know that they were on their way. So, we sat in the tiny airport and when the plane arrived, I was able to give them the grand welcome! It was great. However, both of them said that they already knew me because they had been reading the blog. How fantastic… The blog is great, but at times it worries me because I wonder WHO is actually reading it. Guess being a missionary with 20 months takes you to that…

Anyway, that’s about it for this week. I burned a pair of pants in a brilliant blaze of fire and have had some fun. The cold is almost gone, so I’m doing fine. Well, hope that you all have some fantastic adventures this week! I’m off to have my own!

To celebrate 20 months, I burnt a pair of pants! (I meant to do this at 18 months, but never managed it.) I wrote a note.

To celebrate 20 months, I burnt a pair of pants! (I meant to do this at 18 months, but never managed it.) I wrote a note.

Me and my pants.

Me and my pants.

They burnt even better than the white shirt!

They burnt even better than the white shirt!

Good bye 20 months! I can't believe I'm so close to the end of the mission!

Good bye 20 months! I can’t believe I’m so close to the end of the mission!

With many llamas,

David

For service this week, we decided to paint our room. However, there was only paint for the ceiling, which I painted again since the paint was falling away.

For service this week, we decided to paint our room. However, there was only paint for the ceiling, which I painted again since the paint was falling away.

For our mission activity, we watched the Testaments with the projector. The thing is installed in the ceiling, but when they installed the projector, they totally forgot to install a white screen. So, to make up for the missing screen, we used one of the sacrament cloths and it fit just perfectly!

For our mission activity, we watched the Testaments with the projector. The thing is installed in the ceiling, but when they installed the projector, they totally forgot to install a white screen. So, to make up for the missing screen, we used one of the sacrament cloths and it fit just perfectly!

Come to the Knowledge of the Glory of God

Mosiah 4

11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so loaded. The first principles of the Gospel are so important and yet so difficult to understand at times.

Moroni 8

26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

But once we start to understand the gospel, everything else begins to fall into place. This week I’ve been focusing my studies on Lesson 2 in Preach My Gospel, which discusses the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is amazing how studying these things make it much more interesting and much easier to teach my investigators. We are honestly teaching with a ton of power and authority because the Spirit is guiding us and we just know that we are doing what we should. I love my new companion.

A rainbow to mark the beginning of a new transfer.

A rainbow to mark the beginning of a new transfer.

This week hasn’t been the kind of week with lots of pictures, but it has been pretty great. We are teaching a ton of people and are really enjoying and loving the people that we are teaching. It is a fantastic process, and I haven’t been this happy in a long time.

Well, this week was also full of Cortamontes in Jauja. A Cortamonte is basically a Jauja party where they put up some big trees, decorate them with gifts, dance to music and while dancing take whacks at the tree to knock it over. (Oh, and don’t forget the beer. There’s always lots of beer.) There was actually a Cortamonte right outside of our room. It was pretty interesting to watch. However, it can be a little gross when you come upon two women relieving themselves right outside your door. Hna Olinda went out and yelled at them. They were pretty embarrassed, but they were also really, really drunk. Some people!

The Cortamonte dance festival set up right outside our room.

The Cortamonte dance festival set up right outside our room.

So, that’s about it. I’m loving the work and am really excited for what the week will bring. Hope that you are all doing great and have a fantastic week! I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Ward to Branch, and Other Interesting Changes

My new companion, Elder Pizzaro from Lima!

My new companion, Elder Pizarro from Lima!

Elder Pizzaro and me. He's brand new!

Elder Pizzaro and me. He’s brand new!

So, this week has been full of changes. First and foremost, I have a new companion. I am staying in Jauja, thankfully. I am actually training. Like really training — not finishing the training, but starting it. The only unusual thing is that for two days I waited for President’s call, like he always does. I had a feeling that I would be training before transfers were made known. So, I waited. Then on Tuesday the Zone Leaders confirmed that I was training, so I kept waiting. I waited until 1:00 AM that night wondering if he would call (well, I was awake because my companion took forever organizing his stuff…). So, I waited. And…. nothing. So, going to bed at 1:00 AM was made even better when I had to wake up at 5:00 AM to get ready to go to Huancayo so I could be at the trainers training meeting. It was a great meeting (especially since they gave me breakfast!). It was really nice to talk with President Henderson for a bit. It was also super weird noticing that I am probably the singular missionary in the field with as much time as I have that is also training. He thanked me for coming on such short notice and was grateful that I could make it. I think this must have been a crazy transfer.

After 3 months (of us being there... it was more like a year in total) of a broken window patched up with Liahona clippings, Hermano Maximo decided to buy a new window for us.

After 3 months (of us being there… it was more like a year in total) of a broken window patched up with Liahona clippings, Hermano Maximo decided to buy a new window for us.

Anyway, my new companion is Elder Marcoly Pizarro from Lima. He’s a great guy and we’re excited to get moving along with the work. Things are fantastic with us. He’s a recent convert of a few years, so he is learning a lot, but he really knows how to connect with the members.

Which leads me to the next point:

The First Presidency made a change in our unit. President Monson himself came down to Jauja! LOL, just kidding. It would be quite interesting if he did come down, but he didn’t. The Stake Presidency got a letter from the First Presidency saying that the ward would be dropped from a ward to a branch. Which I think is fantastic. It is exactly what we need. The branch now has a president (after not having a bishop forever), which means that someone can hold the keys to direct the work and to help others. It also gives the members something to really fight for. I’m excited. My companion and I have tons of plans for the area and the branch, and we are ready to get fighting to build this place back up, like we should.

Funny story... One day at church I took off my glasses to clean them whilst Bonnie was present. She hurried and turned away in fear of my face without glasses. Ever since, I have been bothering her with it and she has been bothering me with hers. So, here are the two of us.

Funny story… One day at church I took off my glasses to clean them whilst Bonnie was present. She hurried and turned away in fear of my face without glasses. Ever since, I have been bothering her with it and she has been bothering me with hers. So, here are the two of us.

That’s about it for this week. Not too exciting since we lost some time doing various important things like baptism interviews, service, and getting the airport phone number for Sister Henderson (she asked me to go to the Jauja airport to get their phone number since there are a ton of missionaries flying from Lima out here in the next few days).

Anyway, hope that you all have a fantastic week! Enjoy this week’s adventures! I’m off to have my own!

with many llamas,

David

Also, I’m glad that Dorothy had a fantastic time at Prom. I got the pictures and she looked very cute.

We had a fantastic activity this week. Noche de Postres! (Dessert Night) The contestants are all ready to go.

We had a fantastic activity this week. Noche de Postres! (Dessert Night) The contestants are all ready to go.

The tension rises as they plate the food.

The tension rises as they plate the food.

Some just couldn't wait to whet that monstrous appetite.

Some just couldn’t wait to whet that monstrous appetite.

Yes, I too was in attendance.

Yes, I too was in attendance.

Things were all ready to go go. The judges (with their fantastic hair-dos) couldn't wait to enjoy the fantastic food-dos.

Things were all ready to go go. The judges (with their fantastic hair-dos) couldn’t wait to enjoy the fantastic food-dos.

Not sure what they are thinking, but I do know that sugar plums are not dancing in their heads. Because... well... there weren't any.

Not sure what they are thinking, but I do know that sugar plums are not dancing in their heads. Because… well… there weren’t any.

Was this planned??? I think that this was part of the contestant's strategy

Was this planned??? I think that this was part of the contestant’s strategy.

The tension rises as the contestants anxiously wait for the results.

The tension rises as the contestants anxiously wait for the results.

My favorite dish. Alright, it wasn't a dessert, but it was delicious. It was Arroz Cusqueño. It has noodles and french fries in it!

My favorite dish. Alright, it wasn’t a dessert, but it was delicious. It was Arroz Cusqueño. It has noodles and french fries in it!

And our pension won! She made Mazamorra with Peaches (sorry dad, you probably wouldn't have liked it).

And our pension won! She made Mazamorra with Peaches (sorry dad, you probably wouldn’t have liked it).

In a kind act of service, my companion and I helped the sisters cut bread for some sandwitches.

In a kind act of service, my companion and I helped the sisters cut bread for some sandwiches.

And we kept cutting bread.

And we kept cutting bread.

You can't see it, but we cut 150 breads.

You can’t see it, but we cut 150 breads.

And to finish it off, we had to go back and cut each of the finished sandwiches in half because over 180 people showed up! It was a miracle because we had far more than enough.

And to finish it off, we had to go back and cut each of the finished sandwiches in half because over 180 people showed up! It was a miracle because we had far more than enough.

 

When Ye Shall Rend that Veil of Unbelief

Happy Birthday, Elder Aleman!

Happy Birthday, Elder Aleman!

The presents were very welcome. He got some lotion, his favorite, and a picture frame. We had a party at the Pacahuala's house.

The presents were very welcome. He got some lotion, his favorite, and a picture frame. We had a party at the Pacahuala’s house.

 

Ether 4:15, 18-19

14 Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

18 Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.

 19 And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.

Well, it has been another week. Transfers are coming up — what a week. There should be some interesting changes, and I’m rather excited. I have no idea what awaits me, but I hope that I can truly “rend that Veil of Unbelief” and come even closer to my Savior. I only have three transfers left as a missionary and I have learned a ton.

The amount of dust we had been living in. All clean, now!

The amount of dust we had been living in. All clean, now!

This week has been very standard. We’ve taught some people, had some fun, and did some stuff as usual. It was pretty awesome to just do the normal stuff.

As you may or may not know, I am a rather huge fan of ice cream. While with Elder Guerrero, we found a place that sells frozen yogurt just like home!

As you may or may not know, I am a rather huge fan of ice cream. While with Elder Guerrero, we found a place that sells frozen yogurt just like home!

I had to buy two of them.

I had to buy two of them.

However, the ward really struggles with a love for gossip. We have tried to be loving and teach the members that people can repent and use the atonement of Christ to truly change who they are and have all of their past actions erased. We have tried telling them about Faith and how we can look forward with the eye of Faith and press forward toward salvation. We want them to support each other and build each other up, but it is hard to change. Yesterday was hard. One of the members asked us to give her a blessing after she heard some gossip that worried her. She and her husband are going through a hard time and she wanted to keep it private, but word got out. She was crying but the blessing we gave her was the most powerful blessing that I’ve ever given and I’m so grateful to have the priesthood. She was assured of her Savior’s love.

This is what I try to say to the ward, and it is a good reminder for me, too:

Everyone has feelings. Everyone deserves to be treated well. The golden rule is just fantastic: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or perhaps: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

It is like all of the book of Ether. If you work secretly and to bring people down, it will always be brought to light. It may not be now, or in the near future, but it will come and you will have to pay for what you have done, just as the Jaredites did with their complete and utter destruction. We must repent and become saints though the grace of Christ.

Everything that we do counts. Everything that happens matters. Decisions determine destiny and we must keep that in mind. What we do here determines what happens us after this life and the happiness that we will have there. So, rend that veil of unbelief! Come unto Christ and be ye perfected in Him! He loves us! He wants the best for us! Shake off the natural man! Become a saint! We are Sons and Daughters of a Heavenly King and we have a divine potential!

I love this work. I love the things that are happening in the world. The Lord is hurrying His work and we must either help Him or be left behind. This is the Testimony that is in me, and it grows each and every day. The mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I love you all and hope that you have a great week. I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Talent show! Just about ready to get started! (I took over 3 gigabytes of pictures and video to share with the ward members!)

Talent show! Just about ready to get started! (I took over 3 gigabytes of pictures and video to share with the ward members!)

Our friend Erik is ready for is big number, La Masquera!

Our friend Erik is ready for is big number, La Masquera!

Even the elderly were ready to participate!

Even the elderly were ready to participate!

We had musical duets.

We had musical duets.

I even showed off my drummin' skills. I still got it.

I even showed off my drummin’ skills. I still got it.

Singing and dancing -- they were a hit.

Singing and dancing — they were a hit.

A "selfie" to prove I was really there.

A pic to prove I was really there.

La Masquera was a pretty big surprise and a pretty big hoot!

La Masquera was a pretty big surprise and a pretty big hoot!

 

The Primary joined in. Two of the girls pretended they were sister missionaries. Their skit was about how their Pension made awful food, so the mission president showed up to give them some correction.

The Primary joined in. Two of the girls pretended they were sister missionaries. Their skit was about how their Pension made awful food, so the mission president showed up to give them some correction.

A "couple" did a musical number where the boy wanted the girl back, but she wasn't interested.

A “couple” did a musical number where the boy wanted the girl back, but she wasn’t interested.

The Relief Society showed off some curves by dancing traditional "waynos" which then led into a party song.

The Relief Society showed off some curves by dancing traditional “waynos” which then led into a party song.

Then we had a drumming group. They were probably the most interesting one to me. My ears hadn't heard that amount of noise in just over two years -- the last time I played with the BYU drumline.

Then we had a drumming group. They were probably the most interesting one to me. My ears hadn’t heard that amount of noise in just over two years — the last time I played with the BYU drumline.

Just PURE NOISE.

Just PURE NOISE.

 

My companion did a mini-man dancing number. It was pretty funny, but he forgot to cover his real legs...

My companion did a mini-man dancing number. It was pretty funny, but he forgot to cover his real legs…

Then to finish it off, a romantic duet. What a fun night.

Then to finish it off, a romantic duet. What a fun night.

Making Rompemuelles, but more like Rompecarros

Speed bumps here are called rompemuelles, but most of them should be called rompecarros (meaning, car breakers). In light of that, we decided to make one this week! But then we made two! One that is above the ground, and one that goes under the ground. The family on the street loves our handiwork — it keeps the street safe for the kids — but have told us that many people have gotten either stuck, or tried to fill it in, or have even yelled at them. They just laugh and feel much safer. The cars here just go too fast without caring about pedestrians, especially young ones.

Our service project this week was building a Peruvian speed bump!

Our service project this week was building a Peruvian speed bump!

The finished project. People have really been stopping here the last few days. Sure makes play time for little kids more fun and safer!

The finished project. People have really been stopping here the last few days. Sure makes play time for little kids more fun and safer!

So, this has been a really long and hard week. Most everything has fallen through, and I’ve been pretty disappointed. We’ve worked hard to find people, but nothing really happened. To make things worse, one of the members we’ve been working with a lot has started drinking again. The ward is discouraged, too, and we have to announce everything for them to come. It is really frustrating.

However, it has taught me to see some of the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. He gave us two awesome new investigators at the end of the week (the only new investigators). He has made sure that we are safe (crazy thunderstorms all week), and things progress even though it goes pretty slowly. Missionary work is not easy, even for a missionary that only has just over four months left. There were days this week when I didn’t even want to leave the room for how disappointed I was. However, I know that the Lord recognizes our efforts and blesses us according to His will and the agency of others. I love this work.

Anyway, I know that the Gospel is true. I have learned so much from this area and am glad for the experiences that I get. It truly is an adventure, and I’m off to go have another one! Have a great week everyone!

With many llamas,

David

THIS is a Jauja party.

THIS is a Jauja party.

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