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.

No comment.

No comment.

 

We’re Bringing Ultimate Frisbee to Peru

Last week for P-Day, along with watching Kung Fu Panda 2 (in Spanish, but still an excellent movie), we played some Ultimate Frisbee as some missionaries in the zone. We played on a tiny little soccer field, but we still had a blast. Today, however, the majority of the gringos in our multi-zone P-Day played Ultimate Frisbee on a gigantic field. I’m beat, but it was great to know that my skills are still up to par. It was really fun running around like crazy people all morning and afternoon with a Frisbee. Nothing bonds Mormon gringos like Frisbee does.

Anyway, it has been a pretty good week. I’ve had some fun and we’re really working to help out the ward as much as we can. I made up a Ward Mission Plan and presented it to them this week. It contains all of the things that they should be doing to help the ward. It should really help them. The Relief Society assigned visiting teachers, and the sisters are excited to get going with that.

We celebrated Maximo's birthday this week (our Pensionisto). Here he is with our Pensionista, his wife Olinda. They are the best.

We celebrated Maximo’s birthday this week (our Pensionisto). Here he is with our Pensionista, his wife Olinda. They are the best.

Elder Aleman, Maximo, Olinda and me.

Elder Aleman, Maximo, Olinda and me.

Happy Day, Maximo!

Happy Day, Maximo!

They took us to La Mesón, a delicious chicken and meat restaurant. The best part, however, is that they have real ice cubes that they give with their limeade. I  have missed ice cubes!

They took us to La Mesón, a delicious chicken and meat restaurant. The best part, however, is that they have real ice cubes that they give with their limeade. I have missed ice cubes!

The Birthday Boy and his chicken.

The Birthday Boy and his chicken.

The two of us together.

The two of us together.

All three of us! Olinda stayed home, but we brought her chicken too.

All three of us! Olinda stayed home, but we brought her chicken too.

This week I also had a split (or as we say “divisions”) with Elder Guerrero, a newer elder serving in Concepción. We had a day together and we had a blast. Their room is literally the Mansion of the mission. They have a personal chef as a pension (who is the coolest guy I’ve met in quite a while), they have a nice room, and everything is great. Their area is hard as far as proselyting goes, but they have a blast. We really could feel the Spirit as we taught together, and I hope that he learned from me. I really enjoyed my time there.

Elder Gurrero and I had divisions in Concepción. We had fun.

Elder Gurrero and I had divisions in Concepción. We had fun.

Their house is the "mansion of the mission" because their pensionisto is a personal chef, owns several restaurants, and owns a gas station company.

Their house is the “mansion of the mission” because their pensionisto is a personal chef, owns several restaurants, and owns a gas station company.

Seriously. It is a nice house.

Seriously. It is a nice house.

Other than that, there isn’t too much to report. My testimony grows every single day and I can feel the Savior’s hand in my life. I know that this work is true and that we are all sons and daughters of God with a purpose. I love the mission and it is hard to think that I hit 19 months tomorrow. It is coming to a close too quickly.

Hope you all have a great week and stay safe! I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

At about 11:00 PM, some young men and women started to learn the Jija (a Peruvian folk dance) in front of our room. I don't know why.

At about 11:00 PM, some young men and women started to learn the Jija (a Peruvian folk dance) in front of our room. I don’t know why.

O Then Despise Not, and Wonder Not

27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

Mormon 9:27-28

I’ve been reading a lot of the Book of Mormon lately. It has been quite the experience and I’ve really learned a lot about the book. I can feel my testimony grow. I often wonder why I didn’t really do this so studiously before.

The hand of the Artist at work.

The hand of the Artist at work.

Anyway, this week has been a very challenging week for me. It has also been a very productive week for me. We have had more lessons this week than any other week of my time in Jauja. The area is really starting to progress and things are going wonderfully. I know that the Lord is very interested in the area and the people here. I think that He was rather frustrated for a time with the little success that there was and how little work was being done. I mean — two wards and a branch get reduced to a non-functioning ward? Well, it just shows how this scripture should work: despise not and wonder not, for the Lord will do wonders here if we let him. He is a God of miracles, as shown in the last chapter of Mormon. He often just waits for a show of good faith on our part.

A gigantic spider made out of a tree trunk. It was pretty sweet. However, there is no way I could fit it in my suitcase so I didn't buy it.

A gigantic spider made out of a tree trunk. It was pretty sweet. However, there is no way I could fit it in my suitcase so I didn’t buy it.

I bought a Peruvian doll dressed up as a Jaujina in traditional dance clothes. Took the guy at the store 10 minutes to find one in dark blue.

I bought a Peruvian doll dressed up as a Jaujina in traditional dance clothes. Took the guy at the store 10 minutes to find one in dark blue.

I also bought a hand carved wooden penguin for my desk at home. It is fantastic.

I also bought a hand carved wooden penguin for my desk at home. It is fantastic.

And that is what is happening in Jauja. The young men and young women and the young adults are indexing like crazy. With only a handful of them and very few computers, they were able to complete their goal of over 5000 names indexed these last four weeks and they just want to get going. What they are more excited for, however, is that this coming month the records of Junin, the department that they live in, are going to be released to be indexed! They are so happy to help others but are even more excited to index their own ancestors and help the work move along here in their own area! I am so excited and happy for them. I am 100% certain that I will be helping them by doing some indexing when I get home, since they are open for all.

Taking a break in a gigantic pot.

Taking a break in a gigantic pot.

Sneezing in front of a very Catholic house. Those family sneeze-in-the-sun genes are very strong.

Sneezing in front of a very Catholic house. Those family sneeze-in-the-sun genes are very strong.

So, we’ve had a good week. Not too much else to report but the work keeps trudging along. I’m rather tired and not feeling so good, but I know that the Lord loves us. He is here for us and He knows us individually. I can testify of it.

Anyway, have a fantastic week! I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Maximo (our pensionisto) trying out the sorcery of cooking technology

Maximo (our pensionisto) trying out the sorcery of cooking technology

The master chef is hard at work making the Rocoto Relleno. He's the nephew of Maximo, our pensionisto.

The master chef is hard at work making the Rocoto Relleno. He’s the nephew of Maximo, our pensionisto.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

Look at that deliciousness.

Look at that deliciousness.

I ate ALL of it. Even the bitter part of the pepper. I think I have a new favorite plate.

I ate ALL of it. Even the bitter part of the pepper. I think I have a new favorite plate.

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

Ruins of a Once Majestic City

Elder Aleman and I survey the Incan ruins of Tunanmarca. We had such a good time we are taking the whole zone back there today.

Elder Aleman and I survey the Incan ruins of Tunanmarca. We had such a good time we are taking the whole zone back there today.

Well, we had some awesome adventures this week, starting with our awesome P-day. We went to the ruins of Tunanmarca up past Jajua, and man was it fun. We had to climb up a crazy mountain in a super old car (which made me kind of miss San Pedro de Cajas) to get to the ruins that rest upon a pretty tall mountain. It was really cool seeing the sights and learning about how these people lived. Unfortunately, the ruins haven’t been very well taken care of, and many of them are falling apart. However, the parts that were still standing up were just awesome! They are so great that Elder Aleman and I are taking the whole zone back there for P-day today. I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.

And we're off to the RUINS of Tunanmarca!

And we’re off to the RUINS of Tunanmarca!

What we had to drive up to get to the ruins. (Yes, all of the little farms are still our area.)

What we had to drive up to get to the ruins. (Yes, all of the little farms are still our area.)

Looks like I'm too tall to be an Inca.

Looks like I’m too tall to be an Inca.

Several other people came along. This is our Pensionisto and Abinadí.

Several other people came along. This is our Pensionisto and Abinadí.

An old wall with a few houses.

An old wall with a few houses.

The ruins are pretty awesome.

The ruins are pretty awesome.

A small pathway between varying properties.

A small pathway between varying properties.

There are some interesting rocks to be found.

There are some interesting rocks to be found.

The entire top of the mountain is the city of the ruins.

The entire top of the mountain is the city of the ruins.

This week has been both pretty tough, but very good as well. I am still in Jauja with Elder Aleman, and we have tried to hit the ground running. Everyone but Elder Layton stayed in my district, and we got four more missionaries. Almost all of our appointments have fallen through, but the ones that we have had have been fantastic. People are really seeking for the gospel and want to change their lives. And, as the scriptures say, we’re “laying the foundation for a greater work” in Jauja.

Our awesome activity in the chapel. Hardly anyone showed up.

Our awesome activity in the chapel. Hardly anyone showed up.

But then more people showed up, and we played a non-musical version of musical chairs.

But then more people showed up, and we played a non-musical version of musical chairs.

I have really learned to love the Atonement. I don’t think I’ll ever completely understand it, but I have learned how grace can really transform people and make them better. We have been teaching a less-active member who had fallen really hard into alcoholism. He lost his wife, his daughters, and many things were not going his way. He approached us on two different occasions (which I shamefully admit that we didn’t want to teach him nor talk to him). He could feel the pressure of the ward looking down on him due to his past actions and gossip. He was just having a hard time. However, after we taught him about the Atonement and Repentance, he decided that it was time to change. A few lessons down the line, and he is doing fantastic! I love the poor man and am so grateful that the Lord led us to him. The Lord will rescue him from the chains of hell and we will help him learn about his Redeemer. He is an amazing man.

In other news, the ward is really feeling the Spirit of Elijah. They are really working on the indexing goals that the stake has set, and many of them are completing them! I love this work and know that the Lord is accelerating it on many fronts.

Other than that, we are teaching the mother of an inactive clown (an actual clown who does birthday parties). However, the clown seems more of the nighmarish kind that never smiles, but I guess he can really put on a show when he is with the kids. He also doesn’t even want to listen to us because he “will never change.” Whatever. He’ll come around when he sees how happy his mother is!

Anyway, there’s a lot to do here. I’m glad to be here another transfer and hope that I can really help the work here progress. It will be an adventure! Well, I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Instead of giving me my 8.50 change with a 5, a 2, a 1 and a 50 centimo, they gave me all in 50 centimos and 10 centimos.

Instead of giving me my 8.50 change with a 5, a 2, a 1 and a 50 centimo, they gave me all in 50 centimos and 10 centimos.

My companion stole a bicycle.

My companion stole a bicycle.

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.

They Were Steadfast and Immovable and They Bore with Patience

Alma 1:25  Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.

This scripture is really helping me through Jauja. The Lord is really trying my patience, and I can tell that it is helping me. I never thought that I had problems with this kind of thing, but I guess the Lord knows me better than I do and wants me to be better than I think I am, if that makes sense. I guess that I just have to keep this scripture in mind, and this one from Alma 7:

Alma 7:23-24  And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.  And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

However, things are going well. I’m enjoying myself, even though there isn’t a whole lot of measurable success. However, I know that the Lord is mindful of me and that He appreciates my ideas, even if others don’t understand them.

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Minute to Win it and Other Adventures!

Well, we had a blast this week with the ward. On Friday night, we had the idea to throw an activity to gain the trust of the members and show that we are totally willing to help this ward and that we aren’t just boring missionaries that just came to waste the time by. The activity was a huge success and we really loved throwing it off. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Christmas Has Come and Gone and A New Year is Ready

At the cross-roads of destiny.

At the crossroads of destiny.

Our project during the week. Organize the entire ward directory by street. It was a very daunting task.

Our project during the week. Organize the entire ward directory by street. It was a very daunting task.

Well, another week. There isn’t really a whole lot to report, so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. I really enjoyed Christmas this year and it was super nice to reflect on the Savior.

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