Saying Goodbye to Huancayo

So, it’s over.

Here is how my last few days went:

I spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Lima getting permission to leave the country. We stayed at Hotel Yeya’s, where we usually stay. Elder Arratia was with me. We got to the immigrations office and took our put-together paperwork to the window and found out we both had “outrageous” fines for not renewing our Peruvian identification. The outrageous fines amounted to about $40, so pretty soon we were on our way. The only thing that worries me is that mine will expire three days before we leave Lima. However, the area secretary said that it is a very minimal fine when we get to the airport. I hope that’s true!

Saturday my packing plans were pushed up a day because I found out I needed to be in the office all day Monday for well-being and self-sufficiency training. This is a new thing for missionaries leaving the mission. Due to this, my final interview was pushed up to Sunday.

It was hard to say goodbye to my Jauja branch on Sunday. After church, interviews went well. I’ve come to love and admire President Henderson. He’s been a great president, and helped me to be satisfied with the mission and get excited for the future.

On Sunday afternoon, I said goodbye to Olinda, Maximo, and Elder Fitzgerald. There were some sniffles in the car as Maximo and Olinda drove us to the terminal to meet the bus to Huancayo. They feel like family to me now.

Monday was the training I mentioned. It was helpful but a bit on the long side. In the afternoon, the five of us who were finishing up went to the President’s house for a really nice meal and some time to chat and enjoy each other’s company before we went our separate ways.

At about 8:30pm, my parents showed up and it was so good to see them. It was a little embarrassing — as I ran in my stocking feet I slipped on the hardwood floor and nearly fell.

It is hard to believe that the mission is over. It almost doesn’t seem real, and reminds me of Jacob 7:26:

the time passed away with us, and also our [mission] passed away like as it were unto us a dream

 

My parents arrived in Lima with a day to spare and went to Plaza de Armas and other tourist attractions.

My parents arrived in Lima with a day to spare and went to Plaza de Armas and other tourist attractions.

My parents also checked out the CCM and temple in La Molina.

My parents also checked out the CCM and temple in La Molina.

Then they flew from Lima to Jauja. Their plane ride took 37 minutes, when the bus took me eight hours.

Then they flew from Lima to Jauja. Their plane ride took 37 minutes, when the bus took me eight hours.

Since they couldn't pick me up until 8:30pm, the wandered around Huancayo all day Monday. They even did some reconnaissance and found the mission office.

Since they couldn’t pick me up until 8:30pm, the wandered around Huancayo all day Monday. They even did some reconnaissance and found the mission office.

Reunited!

Reunited!

The five of us finishing up this week: me, Elder Chavez, Elder Arratia, Elder Alvorado and Hermana Veraguay with President and Sister. Henderson in the mission home.

The five of us finishing up this week: me, Elder Chavez, Elder Arratia, Elder Alvorado and Hermana Veraguay with President and Sister. Henderson in the mission home.

Today I took my parents to eat at my favorite chifa (Chinese) restaurant Chifa Xu.

Today I took my parents to eat at my favorite chifa (Chinese) restaurant — Chifa Xu.

They wanted to full experience so we hopped on a bus to Cochas to see my favorite park and favorite local artisan.

My parents wanted to full experience so on Tuesday we hopped on a bus to Cochas to see my favorite park and favorite local artisan.

And, we had to visit my favorite cuy.  Of course.

And, we had to visit my favorite cuy. Of course.

Last Email in the Field

I have no idea what to say. It has come down to the last week as a missionary. It all ends here. I am so terrified of what is coming. I can’t believe how fast these last few weeks have gone.

I just want to share my testimony of this work. I know that this is the true Church of Christ. He has done everything for us. Even if we were to serve Him every minute and second of our lives, we would be unworthy servants. But He doesn’t care. I’ve been such an imperfect missionary, and I can honestly see my imperfections. I have come so far, but there is still so much more to do. He lives. He invites ALL to come unto Him. He wants to make us happy. He suffered everything so that we can live. I love Him.

Even when times get rough and you don’t think that you can continue forward, nor that you can continue with His gospel, give it another chance. I have seen way too many people fall by the wayside. Stay strong. Hold to the Rod. Just keep trying. It isn’t worth it to fall away and not get back up. Our eternity and destiny depend on the decisions that we make now. Come to Him.

Well, that’s it from Elder Van Komen. Perhaps the next time I write, I’ll just be David. Anyway, I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas!

I Am a Member of the Fellowship of the Unashamed

That same old cuy just wants to kill someone.

That same old cuy just wants to kill someone.

Elder Fitzgerald tried to feed a llama.

Elder Fitzgerald tried to feed a llama.

We found a pretty awesome mask.

We found a pretty awesome mask.

This has been a great week. I have really felt the Spirit so much this week and I know that things are progressing. The Lord is blessing us for our righteous efforts in the gospel, and we are loving the work here. We are becoming members of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth

 

This week has been so awesome that I can’t really say much about it because I don’t have the time to say so in my letters on Mondays. However, I will tell you about our activity and how amazing it was.

We had an “amistura” this week, which is basically where everyone that can brings food and prepares enough for everyone to try it. (Note from Mom: he has apparently forgotten the word “potluck.”)

We prepared mini pizzas and everyone loved them. They were also so amazingly cheap to make in Peru, that we might make them again this week. Anyway, we had about ten investigators show up. They all made friends and they all loved the activity. The Spirit definitely blessed them and helped them come to the activity. Most all of these investigators came to church and loved the services. Elder Fitzgerald and I felt such a feeling of love and joy for each of them. It was amazing.

For the branch activity, we prepared mini pizzas.

For the branch activity, we prepared mini pizzas.

Maximo helped us out by cutting up the mushrooms.

Maximo helped us out by cutting up the mushrooms.

Elder Fitzgerald was pretty excited to eat these pizzas.

Elder Fitzgerald was pretty excited to eat these pizzas.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

Cooling down a bit to take them to the chapel.

Cooling down a bit to take them to the chapel.

Leftover bread. We bought 40 or 50 pieces of bread. Weren't sure how much we'd actually need.

Leftover bread. We bought 40 or 50 pieces of bread. Weren’t sure how much we’d actually need.

Off to the chapel.

Off to the chapel.

We's are so cool.

We’s are so cool.

Our presentation. We made about 50 of them (well, we ate like 3 each when they came out of the oven!)

Our presentation. We made about 50 of them (well, we ate like 3 each when they came out of the oven!)

Someone made stuffed chicken with fruits.

Someone made stuffed chicken with fruits.

The classic papa a la huancaina.

The classic papa a la huancaina.

Caldo de gallina

Caldo de gallina

Pancakes

Pancakes

Some wheat dessert

Some wheat dessert

She made Arroz con Leche.

She made Arroz con Leche.

Anticuchos which are barbequed cow hearts. Pretty tasty -- they all got eaten

Anticuchos which are barbequed cow hearts. Pretty tasty — they all got eaten

Causa. Mashed potatoes with flavors.

Causa. Mashed potatoes with flavors.

We were really really full. However, after this we ate the last 6 pizzas that were left........ yeah.

We were really really full. However, after this we ate the last 6 pizzas that were left…….. yeah.

Well, that’s about it. Hope you all have a great week. I only have two more weeks in Jauja, so I’m going to make the most of it.

Love you all! I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!”

(This piece gets passed around a lot, and attribution is problematic according to internet search engines. Whether it was written by a Saint or a Sinner, the message is inspiring.)

They Should Let No Pride or Haughtiness Disturb Their Peace

Mosiah 27:3-4 

3 And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men;

4 That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.

 

First, I didn’t do much picture-worthy this week. So, no pictures and I am sorry.

This has been a fantastic week. The Lord is hastening His work for real in Jauja. Two missionaries were pulled out of the branch because Elder Mercado, my old companion has to be reassigned to Ecuador due to paperwork not wanting to work out. He and Elder Lema have been sent away. I am now with Elder Fitzgerald of Arizona, USA, so it looks like I’ll be finishing with a gringo, just how I started. It is a pretty nice breath of fresh air since we can talk and understand each other perfectly and have plenty of things to share. I’m grateful for this change and am excited for what the Lord has in store for us.

This week we have hit a new record for me in total number of lessons taught. We have taught 23 different lessons (including less-actives, actives, and investigators) just in this week, and we’re pretty sure that we can up that even more. We have been helping many people feel the need to repent, which is something that I’ve been learning. We have to call others to repentance as missionaries, as that is the only true way to come unto Christ.

We have taught an amazing family this week as well. They are a reference from our Elder’s Quorum president, who was Stake President in the past. He is an assistant or cabinet member for the government in Jauja, so he was talking with this man as part of his work. The husband of the family got in a car accident last Sunday and almost lost his life. After talking with our Elder’s Quorum president, he decided that he needed to really change his life and come unto Christ. So, the reference made it to us. As we talked in the first appointment, we learned that the missionaries — Elder Stone and his companion — taught him about two years ago. They dropped the family due to lack of progression. However, the father is reading the Book of Mormon and his closing prayer was so powerful that we knew that he was ready. His wife wants to come to Christ as well and really wants to help her family. The daughter wants to reconcile herself with God. So, we have a great project. (We just need to get them married. As usual.)

We’ve had loads of spiritual experiences this week, but I can’t list them all here. The Lord is hastening his work. He really is. We have to join Him or be left behind.

Moroni 10:32-33

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

 

Well, that’s what’s happening in Jauja. I’m happy. The Lord is happy. I am good, and God is good. Keep the faith and come unto Christ. I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

These Are His Seed

Shucking corn for a lady in need.

Shucking corn for a lady in need.

The corn here comes out in various colors. This is Delia, a sister who takes care of her 93-year-old father just like Dad took care of Granddad.

The corn here comes out in various colors. This is Delia, a sister who takes care of her 93-year-old father just like Dad took care of Granddad.

We went to Muqui (man have I got some awesome stories to tell you about this place) and climbed up the old bell tower.

We went to Muqui (man have I got some awesome stories to tell you about this place) and climbed up the old bell tower.

Mosiah 15:5-20, 26-31

And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—

Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?

Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.

For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?

Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.

And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!

And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!

And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!

And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!

And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;

For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.

But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead.

But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.

Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.

And now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

 

So, I was studying the words of Abinadi this week. And well, these words basically sum up everything that I feel about the Savior. I know that He is the Son of God and that He is our Redeemer. Come unto Him.

Lots of potatoes in Perú.

Lots of potatoes in Perú.

Amelia -- I got back on the "Pistachio train" last night. So good. Couldn't stop.

Amelia — I got back on the “Pistachio train” last night. So good. Couldn’t stop.

This week has been really great. I can feel the hastening of the Work, especially since I am now in my last transfer. There is so much to be done in so little time. I know that the Lord has much in store for Jauja. Members that haven’t come in years are starting to come back, and many things are just working out. The branch president is enjoying us four missionaries, and it feels like we are working together really well. Yesterday we had 82 people in Sacrament Meeting, which was just so fantastic. I know that the Lord is mindful of this part of the vineyard. He is really there.

We had a baptism in Jauja!

We had a baptism in Jauja!

Tons of people traveled half an hour with us to get there at 8:00 AM Sunday morning. It was so great to have so much support.

Tons of people traveled half an hour with us to get there at 8:00 AM Sunday morning. It was so great to have so much support.

We held the baptism in the Thermal Baths of Acaya. It was a great service.

We held the baptism in the Thermal Baths of Acaya. It was a great service.

There really isn’t much else to say today. I know that my letters have gotten boring… but that’s because I don’t have much time left. Hope that you all have a great week and that you have a great adventure. I’m off to have an adventure — we are headed for a multi-zone barbecue in Chupaca.

With many llamas,

David

My birthday was on Thursday! Hermano Maximo and Hermana Olinda remembered and celebrated it.

My birthday was on Thursday! Hermano Maximo and Hermana Olinda remembered and celebrated it.

My ever-trusty companions at my party.

My ever-trusty companions at my party.

They must know that I love manjar (dulce de leche), because the cake was covered in it.

They must know that I love manjar (dulce de leche), because the cake was covered in it.

Blowing out the candles.

Blowing out the candles.

The necessary bite. (I think we'd call it a face plant in English.)

The necessary bite. (I think we’d call it a face plant in English.)

Even the Pacahuala family celebrated my birthday.

Even the Pacahuala family celebrated my birthday.

They must have known that I also love chocolate frosting because this cake was covered in it.

They must have known that I also love chocolate frosting because this cake was covered in it.

Turn to the Lord with Full Purpose of Heart

The sun is burning us.

The sun is burning us.

The field is white, already to harvest -- redux. (This one is better picture than the last one. The wheat is even whiter and the sun gives a cool effect.)

The field is white, already to harvest — redux. (This one is better picture than the last one. The wheat is even whiter and the sun gives a cool effect.)

Mosiah 7:19, 33

19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them.
33 But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

So, I’ve picked up my study in the Book of Mormon again and have been plowing through. I’ve learned and relearned a lot. King Benjamin’s talk is just awesome. It is totally worth some study if you get a chance.

I’ve been really thinking about my relationship with God this week. I’ve learned and realized that I need to work on that. So, I have been. I can now honestly testify that when we pray to God with faith more frequently, He hears and answers us in the way that He knows appropriate. For example, when we were just walking after all of our plans had fallen through, I offered a silent prayer to my Father in Heaven for guidance in what we could do. A few minutes later, I thought that we should visit one of our old investigators that was fairly nearby. When we spoke with her, she was super happy to see us. She didn’t think that we wanted to visit her any more, so she was excited to see us.

Other than that, there isn’t too much else to talk about. I’m getting close to being done and my time is down to just one transfer. I turn 21 on Thursday. I’m not sure how I feel about this transfer because it is the last one — it is both hard and exciting to think about the mission coming to a close.

All of us have birthdays from January to the beginning of June.

All of us have birthdays from January to the beginning of June.

Happy Birthday to the Jovenes! It was our mission activity this week.

Happy Birthday to the Jovenes! It was our mission activity this week.

Have a great week. I’m off to have an adventure, I guess.
With many llamas,
David
We're so kewl.

We’re so kewl.

A gambling machine for "Pakémon."

A gambling machine for “Pakémon.”

There was a parade getting ready to move out in our neighborhood. It was an elementary school where several kids in the branch go, so it was exciting.

There was a parade getting ready to move out in our neighborhood. It was an elementary school where several kids in the branch go, so it was exciting.

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.