Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mamita Teresa

"I love my pension. She is called Mamita Teresa. To best describe her, she is like *Marsha Walker, haha, I love her. She is outta control, and she is awesome. Never sad, so she is my kinda person… I love her…"

"She and her family live about 2 blocks away from our place. The family is awesome. The husband is the President of the branch, and they only have one son who is preparing for a mission. It's a great family .. very humble.. their house is humble, if you know what I mean... it's awesome."

"The food is about the same. Same kinds of food and stuff.. it's good.. Nothing wild yet...haha"

*Note - for those of you who don't know Marsha Walker, you are missing out. She is one of MOST FUN ladies in Morgan, maybe in Utah for that matter. She has a daughter, Natalie, who is Landon's age, and Marsha always supported the kids in all of their sports and activities through the years. The picture of her above was taken at Halloween. Landon is right, she is outta control :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Everything is New

My new companion is Elder Evans, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has 13 months in the mission, and I'm his second American companion. He is a good elder. I love it, cause I can speak English to him, haha.

We live in a really really really really nice house, haha, I'm serious. I hear it's one of the nicest houses or rooms in the mission. We're on the first floor, and have a bathroom, our sleeping room, a kitchen, and a study room.

Our church has a branch here. It's kinda smaller (than a ward), but we are hopefully going to create a Stake while we're here, so it's good.... The members are really nice. I love it.. I had to give a talk yesterday (in church), to introduce myself, it was all good.. I love it.. My Spanish is great.

Monday, April 28, 2008

¡Ame la selva!

I have so much information about the selva (jungle) from Landon, that I don't know where to start.

"Hey Mom.. Well I can't really explain it… It will take all 6 weeks to explain little by little the jungle.. Every week I'll tell something new… I'll take lots of pics, don’t worry.. "

"Hey Dad..Man I wish you were here.. You would love it. Not the hot of course, but the people and just everything else… The people are so nice… like you don’t even know them (the people we meet in the street) and they're like, "Oh ya, come in my house and sit down" and "Here, drink this, and let's talk", and we have known each other for about 2 minutes. It's great.."

"Hey Gma… Ya the jungle is awesome… The people are amazing… and it's just wonderful… It's not like really jungle jungle. We have a phone in our room , and we (use the) internet from a normal place in town. It has all the things Lima has, just in the jungle pretty much."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

We've got pics !!

We got a disk in the mail today. I've been hours (I'm not kidding), trying to sort them out - he had the date wrong on his camera, and his descriptions are half in English (unreadable because it is so sloppy :) and half in Spanish (unreadable because I don't know Spanish). Plus the numbers he refers to, are NOT the numbers that they ended up referencing on the disk. It has been a fun puzzle to put it all together... Seriously - I love it. I'm weird:) I'll try and post them all tomorrow afternoon. Until then. I hope this picture will do :) This is Landon with Elder Villanueva on 04/04/08.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Preaching and Teaching

"Everything is going good. We had a "little battle" with a guy who knew the Bible pretty well. He interpreted it in his own way, not really how it is. I learned a lot from him, but it's sad how wrong he is. This thing.... meaning the plan of god, is perfect. YES, it's pretty scary standing in front of everyone and just preaching. It's amazing though, and you would be surprised how many people want a Book of Mormon, and who know about us, it's great."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stolen Kiss

"Oh ya, last night (April 20) I got kissed. Man, I hate when that happens. We were contacting on the street, and this little old lady was explaining to us how she believes we have a Mother Celestial. Now I won't go into that doctrine, cause it's deep, yes she's right, but just a little wrong..... anyway, she gave me a big hug and was going to give me a kiss, and I couldn't escape, dang it! And the only way out was to get a kiss and ya.... Oh well, I think the Lord understands, haha... I love little old ladies. Well, be happy, remember that. I love you all... see you in the selva (jungle)."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Off to the Jungle

Landon leaves for Tarapoto today. We do not know whether he will fly or be bussed. The city is located about 380 miles north/northeast of Lima. Tarapoto, is also known as "The City of Palms", and is located in a valley between two mountain ranges on the back side of the Andes in the Amazon region. The rolling hills up into the mountains are called the high jungle and the Tarapoto region is called "the land of waterfalls". The mountains on either side of Tarapoto rise to an average of 8000 feet above sea level. Almost everyday at mid morning, huge cloud banks roll in and stick at the base of the mountains, sometimes enveloping and hiding the mountain range completely.

Everyone rides scooters or motorcycles and there are a ton of mototaxis. There are very few cars out and about.

Tarapoto is the largest city (116,800 population) in the Region (State) of San Martin in Peru, and is approximately 1150 feet above sea level and has a hot tropical climate and many strange and interesting "animals".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Wonderful Day

"Well, we had 6 baptisms this past week. Two families !!!!!!!!!!!! It was amazing. I loved it. To see their faces, when they knew without a doubt that they were sin free. It was amazing, and I loved it. The spirit was so strong, that no one could deny that this is true."
One of these families, was the Familia Perez that Landon has mentioned previously. (Dad, Mom, and 3 kids.. ages, 19, 13, and 7) The father wrote Landon the following email. Landon was pretty happy when I passed it along to him.

Dear Elder Rich: Jesus Christ has permitted us to meet each other and it gives me joy that a young man like you, dedicates completely all his time to preach the gospel. I hope that our celestial father walks with you always. Sincerely, Your brother, Wilfredo Pérez Cornejo

"Also, a cool experience.... An older couple was baptized too. When we had the interviews for them, the mom was like, "I can't do it, it hurts too bad". Her legs are bad, and she has open sores because of an operation. We fasted and prayed for her, and on the day of their baptism she showed up.... walking..... and was like, "Yes, let's do it, I'm ready". So we got her legs wrapped with plastic, and it took three of us to baptize her with a chair. I know this church is true, and I love it."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bienvenidos a la Selva (Welcome to the Jungle)

"Well. to answer all your questions.. Yes, I'm leaving Villa Sol.... happily and sadly... I don't know, I have mixed feelings. I don't want to leave because I'm accustomed (to it) here, and also I have made alot of friends here in this zone, and now I won't be here to see them go (home) because they finish (their missions) the next change and the change after, and I'm going to be in the jungle. I'm pretty mixed (feelings) right now, but most of them I'll see again after the mission. One lives in Pleasant Grove, and (another) in Arizona, right where Manda will be living, so that's good. But the ones who live not in the states, in the next life I will see them."

"I am going to Tarapoto, where Elder Woolf is, and my companion is the son (the greenie that Elder Bullock trained) of Elder Bullock haha, how crazy is that? Yes, the Elder Bullock who is in our ward, (Morgan 6th ward in Morgan, Utah) so I'm excited to get to the jungle. I head off Wednesday (April 23). I'll let you know next week how everything is."

Our General Authorities

Click here to listen to a cute song.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Onward Christian Soldiers

President Joseph Fielding Smith declared: "Our young people . . . are the nobility of heaven, a choice and chosen generation who have a divine destiny. Their spirits have been reserved to come forth in this day when the gospel is on the earth, and when the Lord needs valiant servants to carry on his great latter-day work."

President Spencer W. Kimball declared, "We are rearing a royal generation . . . who have special things to do."

"I trust and pray that we can all see their divine potential; that we can see them going forth as bearers of the holy priesthood and as missionaries preaching "the everlasting gospel" by the Spirit "to the nations of the earth"; that we can see them as faithful husbands and fathers and as valiant servants in and leaders of the Church and kingdom of God in these latter days."
- Elder John M. Madsen

Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting together with FRIENDS !!

Elder Rich:
"Hey, so first off, (on P-day) we went to Ventanilla to play (futbol) with that zone at 8 in the morning. It's Elder Peterson's zone. It was fun."

Elder Peterson:
"Actually, today we had P-day with Elder Rich and his zone. I really want to be best friends with him. He is so tight and always when I see him, he makes me happy."

Elder Herdt:
"We had a Multizona this week, which was awesome. I got to see my best friends, Elders Rich, Peterson, Kay, and Mills. Elder Woolf couldn't be with us cuz he's in the jungle right now. I love having our Multizonas. It's so awesome every time I see the guys from my group. I feel so re-energized to get out and work again. We really have like a brotherhood with the guys from my group. I know we'll all be great friends after the mission."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

6 month mark - aka BUMP Day

Landon's mission is 1/4 complete........... These 6 months have passed by so quickly.

"....the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream....." Jacob 7: 26

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Be Happy

"Oh, and one other thing to everyone. BE HAPPY. My heck, I'm sick and tired of people not being happy. You're living aren't you? You have a life, right? Then smile a little bit, and when you talk, talk "happy talk" with a smile. Sound happy for Pete's sake. This, more than anything - wow. Not only down here in Peru, but everywhere. If you have the gospel in your life, you should never be without a smile. Never be sad, because we have the answers...... so SMILE. Thanks."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dan Jones continued........

Dan Jones was one of the fellows who was with the prophet Joseph Smith when he was killed at Carthage. His name is not mentioned nearly so much as John Taylor's or Willard Richards or Hyrum Smith's, yet he was the man to whom Joseph Smith uttered his last prophecy, in the middle of the bleakest and most forlorn position possible, with literally no hope of the prophecy being fulfilled.

During a disruption (at Carthage), the Prophet got off the bed where he was resting and lay on the floor between John S. Fullmer and Dan Jones and spoke to each of them in turn. He asked Dan if he was afraid to die. Dan answered, "Has that time come think you? Engaged in such a cause [as the gospel] I do not think that death would have many terrors." The Prophet Joseph prophesied, "You will yet see Wales, and fulfill the mission appointed you before you die." Before the year 1844 was over Dan Jones was en route with a prominent entourage of other Church officials toward the British Isles, not only fulfilling the prophecy but further proving his own loyalty to the slain Prophet and the cause he died for.

Later Dan served a second mission and is generally credited with more than 6,000 convert baptisms, the translation of numerous missionary tracts into the Welsh language, and leading the emigration of many of his converts to the Great Basin. After their arrival in the City of the Great Salt Lake, some of those Welsh converts became the nucleus of the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Dan Jones has a long list of accomplishments, most importantly being a strong proponent of the restored gospel. He died firm in that conviction and is buried in the Provo City Cemetery. - Research by Kerry A. Shirts

For those of you who are interested, you may find a longer and more detailed history of Dan Jones, here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dan Jones Group

"Well you can officially call the missionaries in the Independencia Zone the "Dan Jones" group. Elder Toolson, our zone leader, (ex) assistant to the Presidente, has started a new thing. We have tons of Books of Mormon in our bags when we know we're going to ride a bus, and then we have "little card things" that tell a little about the book, and we get on the bus and preach. It's amazing. Probably 40 to 50 people at a time are looking at you, while people are getting off and getting on the bus, and you're pretty much yelling, with nothing to show but the Book of Mormon and your testimony about it. We explain a little about it, and hand out those cards to everyone, then at the end, whoever wants the book - we give it to them. Just another way to spread the word and plant the seed - 50 people at a time. I love it. I will continue to do it throughout my life. I love this mission. I love all of you, and thank you for all your help."

So - how many of you are wondering - Just WHO is Dan Jones? Well I had to look it up myself....Tune in tomorrow for more info :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Serving Others

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" ~ Matthew 16:25

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Baptism Day

Landon sent pictures, and this was one baptism he didn't talk about in any of his emails. Her name is Sandra, and I think Elder Villanueva baptized her. Here is what Landon had to say about it:

"Well, her dad is a menos activo (less active) for a long time. We're teaching her whole family. They are the mom and dad and 3 daughters. Sandra is the oldest with 20 years. When I left, her little sister had a date to get baptized. They have family in Utah that are members, so that's pretty cool."

Melt Mom's Heart

"Mom, thank you so much for all your words. I can't express how much I love my family. I have learned so much on my mission. I love this. I have grown to know what I missed before my mission, and now I will not miss it anymore. Thank you for your words mom, and mom, I do know what I mean to you. I think about it everyday. I know, because you and dad and our family mean the same to me. I love you."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Housing in Villa Sol

It wasn't until the one of the last emails, that Landon mentioned he lived on the third floor. His pension, Carmen, and her family live on the second floor, and the owners of the building live on the bottom floor.

I'm guessing this picture is taken from Landon's apartment. -------------------------->

This picture (below) was taken in his pension's apartment.

This is what Landon had to say about the owners of the building:

"The owners are bien bien catolico (fine fine Catholics). They are so, so, so, nice. I love the little old lady. She will be a member either in this life or the next, I know it."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One less worry for Mom

"Dogs are not a problem here. There aren't any strays hardly, just in homes and stuff no worries... "

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lost - then found !

"While working in the Proceres area , we found the Familia Perez. Dad, Mom, and 3 kids.. ages, 19, 13, and 7. It's awesome. They have a date for baptism for the 19th of April. The 19 year old wants to be a missionary, and the dad will probably be a future leader, so I'm really stoked. The other missionaries were having troubles finding them, but we worked on it, and we did! Good news - In our interviews, Presidente Perez told us that there will be missionaries (specifically assigned) in that area (Proceres), and that is good."

"I am happy, but also he mentioned that I will probably not be here (in Villa Sol/Proceres). He mentioned that I will be companero meyor en la selva. (Senior Companion in the Jungle) I am praying tons right now, and I feel inadequate, but if this is so, I will be praying even more. But that's how the Lord works, and we will see what happens. I don't know, I am kinda ready to leave Villa Sol, and see what else Peru has to offer. We will see what happens. Crazy, only one more email, and then the next you will know where I'm going, or if I'm staying, crazy huh? I love it."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Hey Dad, I sure am glad you taught me the things you did about life before my mission. You taught me so much about patience, and just when things (are hard)... suck it up, and push through it. All these words I learned from you, and many many more.... and in this tough time, the Lord and these words are helping me."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Different than the normal week......

"Well, me and Elder Villanueva are getting along just fine. We are working hard. This last week our (teaching) numbers kind of suffered, because Monday we had P-day and went and played futbol (soccer) with a different zone, that was great. Then we worked three days,(Tues. Wed. Thurs.) and on Friday we had our interviews with President Perez, which I absolutely loved. I learned so much, and I love that man. He is a Bishop Fisher, except in Spanish. After that, we had a special party with pizza, and watched a movie, and played futbol with the office missionaries. This was because our zone had met all of our goals, and it was great."

President Fisher (left)
Presidente Perez (right)

"Saturday and Sunday was conference, and it wasn't in our church. It was in the Stake house, which is like 20 minutes out of our zone, so it was tough to get people to attend, and for us to work with them, but I can say.... this was the first time in my life I have felt the spirit so strong. At the end of Saturday, I was spiritually drained, another first in my life. I couldn't think what it was... I was like "We haven't worked at all today, but yet this is the most tired I have been". I couldn't put my finger on it, but man... I love our prophets, and yes, a part of my Patriarchal Blessing was fulfilled this past weekend. Listen to the prophet's voice, I promise you will learn. I love you all, and all is worries."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

General Conference

"I will be able to see the (General Conference) sessions live. It's not their voice, it's the translator's voice. I'm going to miss hearing their voices for 2 years, that's for sure."

We were able to stand and sustain our new prophet,Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors and apostles. It was special to me, in one aspect, because everyday, I'll think and wonder......"What is Landon doing right this minute?" - and yesterday, for a few seconds, I knew EXACTLY what he was doing, at EXACTLY that minute. When they asked the Elder's quorums (across the world) to arise, and put their hand to the square, I KNOW that he was doing that - 4500 hundred miles away - in Villa Sol Peru, RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Read, Study, Pray

"How is the Book of Mormon coming? Keep it up.... I'm waking up a half hour early to study the Book of Mormon because I love it so much. You can get so much closer to God just by reading it everyday. So do it. You will be blessed and see the changes in your life."

Friday, April 4, 2008

¿Opinión qué?

"It's pretty tough to speak English right now. I am in the process of doing a sound (audio) tape, and I sound like an idiot, haha. I can't speak my own language, let alone spell things right. Man, I'm going to struggle after two years, but it's all well. The Spanish is there. I can understand pretty much everything, and I can say what I want to say, and not sound like a gringo, so that's good."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Clean Shirt Anyone ?

"I got the package (with two new white shirts), which was good, because I didn't have clothes haha, they were all dirty. I forgot to give my laundry to the guy (who takes them to be cleaned), because I was sleeping in the room of Elder Ramos, and so 2 weeks without clothes almost, haha."

"All is well with me. I hope it is with you too. Thank you for everything, You know I love this mission, and I love being here, but I wish you could be here with me sharing it. That's why I can't wait till we come back down to Peru, because you will be able to see."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

¡Terremoto Fuerte!

"We had 2 earthquakes last Saturday (March 29th). One at 1 am in the morning (which wasn't very big), it just woke us up and nothing more. But then at about 8am that morning, we were just getting back into our rooms from breakfast and bam. It hit again, and it was strong, haha. It was like nothing I have ever felt in my life."

"We hurried down the 3 floors (to the street) and on the second floor our pension was getting her kids out, and same with our (landlord) owner, (she) was getting her family out. So we got out into the street, and it was just starting to quite down, and I looked up and down our street, and everyone was outside their houses in just boxers (underwear) and blankets, it was funny. But no worries, all is well. A little bit of concrete fell from our roof, it's all good."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More baptisms

"We baptized the Familia Polanco (the parents). I'm really happy, and they are too. Also, Hermana Karla Rivera. I'm so happy she made the decision to be baptized. They all went well, and good news; we have 2 more families for this change too. We found a family that is the best. I'm excited. I love this work."

"I love this mission, and I love being here. All is well down here in Peru."

For more pictures of this day, click here.