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.

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.

 

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

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.

What’s My Age, Again?

The entire zone. We are the biggest zone in the entire mission.

The entire zone. We are the biggest zone in the entire mission.

I’m running out of time. Each day I realize how much closer I’m getting to finishing the mission. It is rather crazy how fast time is passing. I’m approaching about five months until I come home and each day goes faster and faster. They say that time flies when you’re having fun, but I’d say that time flies even faster when you have fun and are serving the Lord.

None of the pictures that I took during our second trip to the ruins could possibly get better than those that I took last week.

None of the pictures that I took during our second trip to the ruins could possibly get better than those that I took last week.

We went back to the ruins and found a square rock.

We went back to the ruins and found a square rock.

Anyway, it has been a pretty great week. We broke our record of new investigators by finding 10 different people to teach, that all accepted a return appointment. Things are looking up! Our rescuing efforts are also coming along well, but we could step up our game a bit. It’s like a general authority said, “to Heavenly Father, the person that has never had the gospel is just as important as the people that have had the gospel but have forgotten.” Or something like that.(Mom here — I think he’s referring to this talk by Bishop Edgely.) So, if you aren’t having that many baptisms or converts, try rescuing the members you haven’t seen in a while! Everyone needs the gospel and everyone deserves a second (or a seventy times seventy-eth) chance!

Other than that, there isn’t too much to report other than our awesome activity on Friday. We had a blast! We recreated and improved our other Minute to Win It activity that we planned and it is the best activity that we’ve had yet.

This was the prize for first place for our competition. We told them the winner won everything in the box.

This was the prize for first place for our competition. We told them the winner won everything in the box.

Red Team!

Red Team!

Yellow Team!

Yellow Team!

Blue Team!

Blue Team!

We played a variety of games. Flick the bottle cap into the cup.

We played a variety of games. “Flick the Bottle Cap” into the cup.

Here they are in action!

Here they are in action!

We also played "Bounce the Pencil Into the Cup."

We also played “Bounce the Pencil Into the Cup.”

"Cookie Face:" the most entertaining of them all.

“Cookie Face:” the most entertaining of them all.

"Shooting the Tower of Cans"

“Shooting the Tower of Cans”

Warning! Danger of losing an eye. Use protective eye wear!

Warning! Danger of losing an eye. Use protective eyewear!

The obvious winner.

The obvious winner.

Yes, I was present.

Yes, I was present.

A challenger approaches! Flick the match box under the bottle without knocking over the bottle!

A challenger approaches! Flick the match box under the bottle without knocking over the bottle!

"Cotton Noses"!

“Cotton Noses”!

The blue team are the winners!

The blue team are the winners!

The contents of the box was a sign saying "thanks for participating!" in Spanish. That got some laughs from the losers.

The contents of the box was a sign saying “thanks for participating!” in Spanish. That got some laughs from the losers.

But in reality, EVERYONE is a winner! Yet another successful activity missionary style.

But in reality, EVERYONE is a winner! Yet another successful activity, missionary style.

We also bathed a dog that followed us home. We named him Ammón.

A dog followed us home this week.

A dog followed us home this week.

We called him Ammón.

We called him Ammón.

We even bathed him! Clean dog!

We even bathed him! Clean dog!

Well, um… I don’t know what else to say! Things are going well and I’m grateful for the time that I have to serve my Lord and King. I know that the gospel is true and everything else. I’m grateful for the Master and His ability to forgive and heal. He is there for all of us. I know it and I testify of it. Hope that you all have a great week! I’m off to have an adventure!

With Many Llamas,

David

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

The best way to contact: shining shoes in the main Plaza. It was pretty fun. And Elder Aleman did a good job.

The best way to contact: shining shoes in the main Plaza. It was pretty fun. And Elder Aleman did a good job.

I just thought I’d put that as the title because we had lunch yesterday with some members, and the music that we listened to was some pretty sweet Peruvian flute music playing popular songs and that was the one that showed up first.

However, Christ is the Light of the World: “Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness” (Alma 38:9) and if we walk in that light we can have eternal life and will not be lost.

Whilst in one of our towns, we found a playground! The slide was super tall and super steep. I almost fell flat on my face.

Whilst in one of our towns, we found a playground! The slide was super tall and super steep. I almost fell flat on my face.

A see-saw that was also super high up. You can obviously tell who weighs more.

A see-saw that was also super high up. You can obviously tell who weighs more.

I think this was the highest my tiny companion could get me up!

I think this was the highest my tiny companion could get me up!

We are doing great here in Jauja. Things are going well and the ward is coming along nicely. Instead of the small increase in attendance we were hoping for yesterday, a ton of people showed up. I really have no idea where they all came from, but we had almost 70 people!  We started about 40 minutes late but at least I got to play the piano for quite a while to invite the Spirit (which was present and very awesome). The meetings went well, and it was wonderful seeing so many people.

This is one of the most interesting fruits that I've had yet. I don't even remember what it was called. It had the texture of a pumpkin but was sweet. We were at the Pacahuala house -- that super cute baby is Maraceli and she's 10 months old. She dances like crazy when you say "bailar" which means "to dance."

This is one of the most interesting fruits that I’ve had yet. I don’t even remember what it was called. It had the texture of a pumpkin but was sweet. We were at the Pacahuala house — that super cute baby is Maraceli and she’s 10 months old. She dances like crazy when you say “bailar” which means “to dance.”

You eat down until you're left with the gigantic seeds.

You eat down until you’re left with the gigantic seeds.

Considering the gigantic festivals in Yauyos, the week went well. It seemed like half the town went to Yauyos, but we still taught quite a few lessons and really enjoyed things. Things are normal again, so we should have even more success in helping the people out here.

In other news, a llama attacked me this week. Fortunately I was able to avoid its spit.  Elder Aleman and I were leaving a member’s house and along came a very crazy and angry looking llama with a collar on.  We just took off in the other direction, and it stopped chasing us.

Um, things are great. I’ve hit 18 months, which is almost too crazy to believe, and I can’t wait to see how things are going to turn out the next few months. It will be some more adventures and I hope that all goes well and that llamas don’t kill me. Anyway, hope that you all have a wonderful week, because I’m off to have an adventure!

With many (non-attacking, but friendly) llamas,

David

My companion hacking at a coconut with a small knife. He was so happy because it reminded him of home.

My companion hacking at a coconut with a small knife. He was so happy because it reminded him of home.

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

In another one of our towns, there were some kids dressed up as Lions dancing to a guy blowing a whistle and playing on the cajón. They scared some little children. They were trying to get some people to come to their new program.

In another one of our towns, there were some kids dressed up as Lions dancing to a guy blowing a whistle and playing on the cajón. They scared some little children. They were trying to get some people to come to their new program.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing!

No, I did not write that “Angles” the first time… silly Spanish ruining my English… I’m just going to cry in the corner…  (Note from Mom — he misspelled it as”Harold” and didn’t catch it.)

The largest (hahahaha, nope) and bestest district in the whole mission! Good luck in Bolivia Elder Cavero! He finally got his visa as is off to Bolivia today.

The largest (hahahaha, nope) and bestest district in the whole mission! Good luck in Bolivia Elder Cavero! He finally got his visa as is off to Bolivia today.

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Thanksgiving in Peru Isn’t Super Awesome

Well, about that title, I mean it because Thanksgiving doesn’t even exist here in Peru. They had a religious festival, but they were celebrating some saint or some “Señor de Los Milagros” that changed the way the Catholic church works or something here. It wasn’t too bad, though. We had our own celebration in our room with some ice cream and some fruit juice (which was a bad combo — I warned my companion!). We talked about things that we were grateful for, and it was a nice celebration. Next Thanksgiving I’ll be able to celebrate it at home! I didn’t get too homesick… but I imagine that Christmas will probably be tough.

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I Love Maps, All Kinds of Maps!

This week it finally occurred to me that it would be useful to have a map of Huancayo, so we got one. That was the greatest day ever. The whole valley makes perfect sense now! Maps should be standard in the mission! I don’t know what took me so long to think of it! I will now never get lost nor will I question the way that I’m going. The map that I had been building in my head is now complete.

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Well, what a week. It has been pretty great to see the area finally lift up again. We were super excited to see six different investigators at church yesterday. Brian, Lita, Yessel, and Francis are all up to the plate with baptismal dates for next week and all of them were able to attend this week. They’re keeping the majority of their commitments, so I’m super excited to see them progress. We were really having a building time here in Chilca, so it is super exciting to see things pick back up here! Just really goes to show that hard work and perseverance actually pay off. Yesterday at church I finally felt that the ward was also picking up from both administrative points to the general Spirit and attitude felt there. I’m so grateful for the awesomeness that is the Work of Salvation! Why would we be afraid of sharing the Gospel with our friends if it leads them to their salvation?

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