Tuesday, September 30, 2008

La Bistecca

The Assistants, Anderson & Ticona with Presidente Perez, and his wife and daughter.

Every once in awhile, Presidente Perez will take the missionaries out to eat. This is one of his favorite places. Check out the pics here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Good week - Good work

This past week has been a good week. We got out a lot in the field to work, and I’m happy. I just want to work. That’s all I want to do. I want to get out into the field and talk with people. I have a desire to baptize all of my area. I love working.

We found a lot of good people, and a lot of families this week. One family, Eduardo and Rejina, they are amazing. We met them on Tuesday. They came to an activity with their son at the church on Wednesday, and we went to their house and taught them on Thursday. They are ready, and I am excited.

We’re getting a lot of references from members. They are showing us to a lot of people, their friends and family that aren’t members, and we have a lot of people we’re planning on baptizing this next month of October.

I love my area. The size of the area is perfect. Not too big, but not too small, easy to get around in, and everyone is ready to hear the gospel.

Changes are coming up quick and I have a lot of work to do this week. A LOT!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

P-day at the Temple and Circuito de Agua

Today we went to the temple and it was a great day. I was really excited because I really need it. I love the temple.

Then we went to the fountains. It’s a place where they have a water rocket show with lights and everything. It was good. I have some pics I'll get to you. I guess it is one of the biggest water parks, as far as fountains, in the world. You will understand when you see the movies and pics. I am pretty tired tonight.

Lima has a new attraction (August 2007) in Circuito de Agua, Parque de la Reserva, it is a 12 fountain complex, the biggest in the world (Guinness Book). In this complex, there are geysers that spill the water up to 80 meters high, and laser lights combined with music, also the fountains create amazing water figures mixed with colorful lights, making a spectacular view and a wonderful show.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Crazy week in review.......... Friday (09/19)

Okay, to fill you in on some of the Bolivia stuff. It’s been really crazy, running around getting these guys situated and all good, and they are still coming. We got 17 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, 2 today (Friday) and the rest come on Sunday. We then get 4 more Latins from Guatemala on Tuesday, and 2 gringos nuevos (new white “North American” missionaries)on Wednesday (Note from Gwen: That would be Elders Ridge and Eliason? I believe) We’re getting a lot of missionaries, and with that, I am in charge of the travel and all the documents. How fun, huh?.... I love it… It’s good, but I’m really tired, and I won’t get any rest for awhile.. But it’s fine.

There have been some cool stories going around though, of how they got out of Bolivia. They called them in the night and said pack up your stuff, you’re leaving Bolivia. Whichever “border” they were closer to.. Brazil, or Argentina, or Peru. That’s where they went. They got them out as fast as they could. Most of them left all their stuff behind, they just brought a backpack with whatever they could fit in it. It’s tough. They are all good with us here.

The coolest thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An Elder Walker from Bolivia, went to Argentina and stayed the night in a mission office. Well, when he heard I was from Morgan, Utah, he asked, “Do you know an Elder Brown?” and I said, “Oh my heck! Travis Brown??” It was sweet. I guess Travis is the secretary personal to his Presidente also.. How sweet is that?

So, I’m ready to head to bed. It was a good day and a well needed P-day is coming up!!! I love you all and I hope the best for all of you. Take care.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Crazy week in review.......... Thursday (09/18)

Today.. What a day... It was OUR day with Elder Nash. We were at the church at 8 am, waiting, and he got there and all the zones got to go through a line and shake President’s hand, Sister Perez, and Elder and Sister Nash´s hand. It was good… It was normal now for me, because we had had a little meeting with him before, but he shook everyone’s hand and looked them right in the eye!! It was good.

As we started the reunion, we had been told to prepare a talk, 3 to 5 minutes long, on our purpose as a missionary, and Elder Nash would choose randomly from the crowd, a missionary to share his thoughts. Well, I got picked!! I loved every minute of it. I had prepared, but then I didn’t use any of it when I was up there. I felt I did good. Presidente and the assistants were happy, so I’m happy.

Now here is the part that wasn’t so great. One of the missionaries was sick, and Sister Perez and me and my companion had to take this Elder to the hospital. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes. We left just as Elder Nash was getting ready to speak, or better said....... to train and to teach. When we got back, it was just in time to hear his testimony. I missed it all.... The thing I had been waiting for.... the training.. But it’s ok.. It’s my job, as Presidente's secretary, plus I had a good two hour conversation with Sister Perez, so it was fine. But ya.. I missed a lot. I will have to study extra hard. It’s all okay. God will help me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Crazy week in review.......... Wednesday (09/17)

11 months today, haha…. The funny thing is, I have been so busy here I didn’t even realize it till 3 in the afternoon.

Today, the Assistants were at the CCM picking up the 17 missionaries from Bolivia, when all of a sudden they said, “Oh ya, you’re getting 27 again”. Well needless to say, it was a hectic day, but it all turned out really well.

We picked up Elder Layton from the airport. He just chilled with us all day, slept with us here in the offices, and it was so interesting to see someone right out of the states come to Peru and just be AWWWed at Peru. He was tired though, he slept from 10 in the morning until like 6 in the afternoon. A good little nap. Then we went to dinner, it was good, his first Peruvian meal!!! I will tell you one thing, I’m sooooooo glad I’m not new anymore… I would like to be in his shoes again, BUT with the things I know now, and being able to speak Spanish. He is in the field with his comp, and I bet just lovin’ life…. He will be a good missionary.

This evening, we started our meeting with Elder Nash, and it was so formal, I loved it. First, he circled us up in the offices, he and his wife, and President and his wife, on the couches, and us on chairs. He had each one of us present ourselves and explain a little about our job, then he went for a tour of the offices and was very impressed at the work that is going on here, and the missionaries that are here also. Needless to say, President Perez was HAPPY. You should have seen his face, it was amazing. I’m really excited for these next few days of training from Elder Nash in our mission. It will help a lot, and also with all these new missionaries. I’m excited, this next month of October will be amazing.

One thing I want to comment on before I close… The LOOK Elder Nash gives you. He looks you right in the eyes. One word... WOW! It’s unexplainable.. It was like looking into... I don’t know... Tt was amazing!!! It’s like he studies you, your thoughts, and your sins if you have any.. it’s crazy, but I loved it!! He is amazing, and I am truly blessed to have met him, and for the opportunity I will have to listen to him tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Crazy week in review.......... Tuesday (09/16)

We thought we were getting 27 Bolivian missionaries........well we found out that we're only getting 17, so the AP's are meeting with President today, to get everything worked out. The rest of us were out buying beds and blankets for them.

Last night we went to dinner and we had the usual chicken and rice, just with a different type of sauce. Then a family calls us to have a family home evening with them, and their house is in a dangerous part (of town), so we had to have someone come down from their house to accompany us up to their house. It was a good family home evening. We met two more people to teach, and all went well. I was in bed and asleep by like 10:45 pm, it was good… I loved it.

I remember waking up at 4 am, thinking it was time to get up, and looked at the clock, and I was like, YES, I still have 2 and a half hours, haha, I love it when that happens.

Elder Nash comes tomorrow!! And he is going to have a meeting with us here in the offices… just us… tomorrow at 6!! So I’m excited.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Crazy week in review.......... Monday (09/15)

We didn’t get out in the field today till we left for dinner, which is at 8pm. I was busy doing the new changes, YES, the new changes already.(October 8th changes) I know where everyone is going this next change. All my old comps, all my buddies, I love it. They will be excited. I was doing that all day long, and my comp was at Serpost (the post office) picking up packages, and then we cleaned upstairs. Our room, and the big room also.

To follow up on the girl that the member presented to us yesterday. Me and Elder Herdt went to teach her. I loved teaching with Elder Herdt. It was the first time in the mission. We didn’t have any experience together or anything, we just taught, and it was good… The lesson went really well, but I thought the commitment we did to get baptized could have been a little better. I now realize I have to keep studying to keep up the teaching good… I need to read Preach My Gospel a lot more… I don’t think there is time, but I will find time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Crazy week in review......... Sunday (09/14)

Well, today was a good Sunday. We had some good Sunday services. One sister presented us to a 15 year old girl that wants to hear the message… We have tons of young people, and that’s good, but not very many families.. But we’re getting there.

After church we went out proselyting. We passed by a bunch of less actives, and had some good lessons with them. I think that the easiest way to find families to teach, is to look for the less actives and usually their wife or husband isn’t a member, so there you go!

We visited this guy that told us he had been waiting for us. It was neat… He said he has been inactive for 2 or 3 months, and he is the only member in his family, so it’s tough. His wife and 3 daughters and 2 nephews aren’t members. He was waiting for us to come and get him back on the track. We kneeled to end in prayer, and it was amazing. He felt better, and we have an appointment with his family this Friday.

Then we had a good visit with a family that we contacted last week. The wife is a member, she was baptized when she was 8, but then went inactive. It was amazing to see her face during the whole lesson. It was like, WOW, I haven’t heard this for years and years, and I’m so glad they are here. It was a good feeling.

We didn’t have too many lessons with investigators (this week), but with less actives and finding new people to teach, it was good. It was a good night and day. I liked it. I had a desire to teach and find and baptize yesterday. I want to have that desire all the time. I pray that I might.

We got notice that the PLN mission is getting 28 North Americans, that were serving in Bolivia, plus 4 or 5 more that are coming from different places, so in total this Wednesday, we’re getting 30+ missionarie. We get to put them to work, find where they’re going to live, and eat and let’s just say, I don’t think we will get out in the area much (working) this week.

Elder Nash is going to do his sweep of the mission from Tuesday to Saturday. The schedule was set in stone. I had called all the hotels and made all the flights, but then the "Bolivian Crisis" happened, and I will now need to change all the flights, make and cancel new flights, and cancel and change hotel reservations.

It's going to be hectic. 30+ missionaries in one day, getting them to and from their areas. WOW !! Plus, there are more than 30 missionaries (not the ones coming from Bolivia) either flying into Lima or to another part of the jungle, to have the meeting with Elder Nash. It will for sure be interesting.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Missionary Commission

"I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation, I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him - to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done; to say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous Latter-day work. How great is my calling!"

- Elder Bruce R. McConkie instruction given to missionaries, while he was a mission president in the Australia South Mission (1961-1964)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life is Short

"This life is short. Think about it... how fast has everything gone in our lives?? School?? The years?? My mission??? Think how fast everything will go.... Our families, our lives, our years... Wow, it's amazing.. We're only here on earth for an average of what, 80 years? Yet we existed before this life, for we don’t know how long... a LONG time. And after?? Well one word says it all.... Forever!! We only have 80 years give or take a few, to make the REST of forever how we want it. Let's hope and pray we make the right decisions."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Elder Rich's Testimony

Sé que mi Señor Jesucristo vive y que nuestro Padre Celestial nos ama.
Sé que José Smith fue un profeta de Dios y que Yo Soy un misionero suyo.
Los amo a ustedes y a toda mi familia.. Amo esta obra y a mis Señor…
Esta iglesia es verdadera…SI o SI!

Translation by Gabo:
I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives, and our Heavenly Father loves us.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and I'm His missionary.
I love you and to all my family... I love this work and my Savior....
This the TRUE CHURCH...yeah oh yeah!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bolivian Missionaries come to Peru

Well, apparently the news has broken, and I feel like it is okay to "blog" about this latest developmen. Some of these missionaries. They will begin arriving tomorrow (Thursday). I'm sure our Peruvian Elders will welcome them with open arms.

Super Heroes

This picture was taken at Real Felipe Fortress when they visited there on 09/06 (I know the date says 09/01, and I've reminded Elder Rich to change his camera date quite a few times.........but I think he keeps forgetting). What a great bunch of young men.

I think Landon looks great! Not too skinny........filled out just right. At 190 pounds he looks good to his mom !

Landon loves his companion, Elder Vargas. This is what he had to say about him:

"My comp is hilarious… He is innocent… and makes us all laugh everyday.. just the little things he says and does… I will explain a few, but they won't make sense, one, because ya gotta be there and two… it's in Spanish translated to English, haha… Elder Vargas is very humble, and never gets mad or upset. I swear he doesn’t have any pride… He is amazing… a best friend, a great person…. He teaches really well, and I sure do love him…. He plays the flute amazingly and the zampoña. You don’t know what that is, but it’s a musical instrument, and he touches it good!!"

"A funny thing that happened this week. We were sitting there and I'm like, "Hey, call Daniel to tell him we will be late", and he is like, "Oh, ok.. ya"… So he dialed the number and put the phone to his ear. He was listening and had the phone up to his ear for like 3 minutes… I'm not lying.. Then he pulled it down, looked at me and said.. "Oops, I forgot to hit the button that makes it call".. Now that’s not anything funny to you guys, but you just gotta know Vargas.. His voice and the way he says stuff.. It's hilarious.. I love him."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Missionary Pictures

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be." 1 Nephi 13:37

We recently received some group pictures, and have posted them here in hopes that some parents might recognize their sons. Don't they look wonderful?

I think this may be the latest group of missionaries who entered the field this past change (August 27th?). I think I recognize Elder Morton (in front next to Presidente Perez) and Elder Griffin (in front with the yellow tie) and I KNOW that is Elder Herdt (financial clerk) and Elders Anderson and Ticona (the AP's) in the back. Any other's you know? (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Please disregard the date on this last picture - Elder Rich is a few days off :) I think this may be the zone leader conference/training (held the week of changes). I recognize a couple of these missionaries. Elder Villanueva and Elder Ramos, Landon's past companions. Anyone recognize any others?? If so, please leave a comment.

If you do see your son, and would like a copy of the picture (high resolution) - please email me at sled4fun2 at hotmail dot com.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On being a missionary........

This ward of Independencia is amazing. They help a lot. I'm excited to work here in this area. We find less actives all day, everyday, there is a lot!!! We work on both finding, baptizing, and reactivating. It's tough to talk about numbers and people. If you're just thinking about the numbers, that means you don’t care if the person you're baptizing knows anything about the gospel and is prepared. But now here is the tricky part… If you don’t worry about the numbers, you don’t have people to teach. The higher numbers you have, the more people you have to teach, and the more baptisms you have. The numbers are really really really important. Missionaries who don’t worry about the numbers, DON’T care about the salvation of their investigators. That is that.

We pray before we leave the offices. Sometimes we have appointments and sometimes we don’t. We visit less actives, no actives, and members...... and when we see a family in the street, we talk to them. We greet them, ask their name, and talk to them. We ask about their interests, their life, their family, etc. Then we relate the gospel plan to their needs and give them a pamphlet they can read, and share our testimony and write down their address and visit them when they tell us to, and that’s about it. Not very efficient......... and that’s why member references are so much better. We do 10 of these kinds of contacts on the streets everyday!! That is our goal.

We had a date for baptism with Daniel for this past Saturday, but his dad wants him to wait a little longer. He is younger and has to have permission to get baptized, but he is excited and we will see for this next weekend. Manuel has a date for October. The other ones.. they weren’t progressing, but we found some other people that have family members, so we will be teaching them and working with them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Passing of a Friend

I forgot to tell you... Hermana Tolentino passed away. She had diabetes, and remember how I told you she had sores on her legs when we baptized her? Well they didn't get better, they got worse, and they had to amputate her leg and she couldn’t take the operation, and she died. How sad....., but I know she is in a much much better place and happy, because her husband will do her work for her and him and everything will be perfect. I’m trying to plan with her husband a time I can go eat lunch with him on a P-day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Real Felipe Fortress

"Well last Saturday we went to a historical site in Callao. It was called… REAL FELIPE or Fortaleca de San Felipe. It was good. At first I was thinking that it wasn't going to be much fun, but then again, I forgot what kinda crew we have here in the offices. With these guys you can have fun anywhere and anytime. There were guns and cannons and a bunch of cool tanks and war stuff. I took some pics and everything and it was good."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Decisions and Choices

The decisions we make are eternal. I think back at all of the decisions I have made, and sometimes I wish I would have chosen better. Looking back on it, there were things I could have prevented if I would have just been doing the things of the Lord and obeying the commandments. Choices are so critical. Check out the second chapter of 2 Nephi, when Lehi is explaining to his son about the freedom to choose.... GOOD or BAD, ETERNAL LIFE or HELL. There are only two choices. The decisions we make DAILY determine where we will go. Choose wisely with the help and council from our Father in Heaven and leaders and parents. I need to make better choices, even out here on the mission. Even being so close to the Lord, there are still things that I have to choose, and I need to get much much better at that.

Concerning the wrong choices we have made in the past; ONE, we repent, and TWO, forget it and never do it again (DyC 58: 42-43) The Lord will not remember it, so why should we? Now when I say forget... I mean after we repent, forget the guilt we feel, but don’t forget about the lesson that we learned. We need to learn from our mistakes and move forward.

I'm going to start making better decisions here in the mission. I will be better and I invite you to be better also.... even down to the smallest thing we can be better. This life is to perfect ourselves In Christ. It's not possible alone, but with Christ it is. We love our Savior, but sometimes we don’t show it by the decisions we make. We will make better decisions. I love our Lord Jesus Christ, and He lives, and through him we can all be made holy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can you say Exercise ?

I don’t do much walking lately. I'm getting a little fat, haha. I weigh exactly 86 kilos, approximately 190 pounds. Do you remember before I left to the jungle I weighed 78 kilos? (171 lbs) Wow, I have gained some weight! Oh well... I did get some high intense exercise in last P-day. Presidente Perez lives on the 21st floor of an apartment building, well Elders Roldán and Ticona and me, we raced the elevator up the stairs. Let me tell you, by the time I hit 5 (floors), I was dead, haha…. It was tough.. and when we finally got there, everyone was already there chillin'.... so that was fun.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Familia Perez

I saw Hermano Perez from the family I baptized just before I left Villa Sol last April. He was great and I only got to talk to him for a little bit, but he said all was good. I heard he and the family are a little inactive, but I heard the son who is 19 years old, is still going to church every week so I’m stoked!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Working and Teaching

Well, to be honest, it's tough to work in the area when you're in the offices. We only have four investigators that we are teaching, Manuel (19), Daniel (12), Bryan (17), and Dámaris (17). We're keeping busy and looking for more. We found some prospects tonight, so that was good. We're finding less actives all over the place. There are 600 registered members, but only like 160 or 200 go to church, so we've got work to do. I love the mission. I am learning so much out here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stuff I Know......

Everything is going perfect… I'm speaking Spanish without any doubts or anything.. It's not perfect, but I can understand everything and respond to everything….. I love it… I see these new kids that came in and wow…. It's like, "How did I never not know Spanish?"... but it's tough for them… It has been nice to get to know the new guys (newbie Elders in the mission)… The North Americans, I can feel for them.. I was in their spots….. I'm getting to know them really well and they are doing great… Their moms would be proud .. They aren’t afraid to talk to people, even though they have no idea what they're saying, or what the people are saying back, but it seems to me that they are better at Spanish than we were when we entered. I don’t know, it just seems like that..

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Familia Vela

I had the time to go to Villa Sol to my old pension, Hermana (Sister) Vela, ha-ha, it was amazing to see her and her family again. To hear how everything is with all the converts, and just actually be able to chat, it's great...

Their family is doing great… They recently went to Cuzco for a trip. Man, I saw their children and they have grown so much since I have been there….. It's crazy…

There is absolutely nothing better in the whole world than to see and hear that the people you were teaching are doing great… It’s the greatest feeling in the world... I love this work and know it’s of the Lord… It's truly the work of the Lord…

We went to the church in Villa Sol to pick up Elder Sorensen, who needed to go to the airport. I entered my old chapel, and I saw people I haven’t seen for 5 months, ha-ha, I loved it! And even better, people that I was teaching, but they had been baptized - FAMILIES!! I love it… I’m so happy…

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reuniting with the Familia Polanco

It all started when I had to call to the sister missionaries in the area of Procures, that’s right in my old area. I called their pension's number, because they don't have a phone in their room. A guy picked up, and I talked to him a little bit, and I hung up and I thought, "Wow, that voice sounds familiar?!". I looked at the number, and I thought, "Man, that number looks familiar". I called back again, and I asked, "Who am I talking to?", and he said, "Hermano Polanco!!!!" And I said, "Do you know who you’re talking to?", and he said, "Nope". It was a good reunion over the phone. Something I will never forget.

A little bit about the Polanco family…. They are great!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They couldn’t be doing better. They are killin' it, pensioning the missionaries (taking care/feeding of the missionaries by being a pension) and just killin' the mission work. I hear they give references of families almost every week, and they go out with the missionaries. They are well on their way to go to the temple, and will be a family sealed in the temple. Their son that didn’t get baptized, is now listening to the message and it's amazing to watch the hands of the Lord work. The daughters are doing great and everything is going great…… I can’t wait to see them.

Also Hermana Mariela from Procures, she called me here at the offices. I couldn’t believe it. It was also really good to talk to her, to hear that she and her family and her son are doing really good!!!