Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 49 - New Area!

Well hey yall! Thought I would throw in a little bit of hick talk there, haha But first week of work in Juliaca and it is sooo different than Urcos. And frankly, I miss Urcos a lot and many of the members and the people there, Juliaca is still great, dont get me wrong.

But let me just run down how Juliaca is different or how it is here. It is actually a big city, bigger than Cusco, just not as pretty or organized yet. It is very cold here and very windy, it is the Chicago of Peru, the Windy City. There arent mountains, just in the distance, so the wind just sweeps across the flat part into the city, and that is why it is cold too. 12,500 feet above sea level too, so it is pretty cold up here at night and in the morning, but it is warming up. We have a ward here, Pedagogico Ward, and it is not too bad with 80-100 attendance each week, we are just trying to help the ward function better here with the missionaries. So Juliaca reminds me a lot of Indiana in early December and sometimes in January, but it gets cold here, I am used to it from home though. Enjoy all the hot weather there in the states!!

Well my companion Elder Cacoango is AWESOME! He is super chill, and very dedicated in the work, he is such a great companion with wanting to work, learn with me, learn English, and do all the things necessary in the mission. He is from Ecuador, in a city called Otavalo, which is a place where the males have long hair, he just decided to cut it before the mission. So he is normal, but they have permission to have long hair in the mission because it is a local custom.

I left Urcos on Wednesday morning to go to Juliaca, but I had a lot of goodbyes to say. We went to Huaraypata with Pedro, also Olga, Jenny and Carlos, Maria and Veronica, and many other members to thank them for the wonderful 6 months I had in Urcos. I am not going to lie, I cried a bit in a few goodbyes it is because the people there are basically my family, to live there for 6 months. I will miss my pensionista Mamicha! She has done so much for me and I will miss everyone there, but I have to continue to work and be in the mission. The Lord needs me in Juliaca and I hope to make the best of it. Well I had to travel nearly 7 hours to get to Juliaca on a bus, and it wasnt as bad as I thought, we had the bottom floor seats and they are super comfy to be in. But now I am here and ready to work in Pedagogico.

Well to another part of the mission and more adventures to come here in my new area of the great Peru Cusco Mission!! Well until next week!

We made french toast to say goodbye with a few members from the branch, they loved the french toast that they never tried! haha

Saying bye to Kenjy

Saying goodbye to Olga

Saying goodbye to Jenny and Carlos and their kids.

Saying goodbye to Veronica, Mayte, and Maria

Me drinking a super strong herb thing and then saying goodbye to Carmen.

My pensionista bought a cake for my going away party.

Mamicha and her family, saying goodbye to them.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 43 - "Watia"

Well, just another regular week here in Urcos. Not much really happened this week but we had a good time working and getting some work done here to help the branch out.

Last PDay we hung out with the youth and young adults of the ward for an activity. We kinda did a cookout with playing soccer and volleyball, and having a good time. But it is hilarious to play volleyball with a bunch of short Peruvians....they think that it is awesome that I can play so easily haha. And we played a local team here that plays fairly well, but they still couldnt beat my team. Which basically consisted of me and a few members that never play volleyball haha, but we destroyed the other team because of my height advantage! We had a good time with all the youth and we made a local dish here called watia, or basically how they prepare it is.....

1. Make a oven out of rocks and mounds of dirt and heat it up super hot.
2. When the rocks and dirt are super hot and red, put potatoes in the oven.
3. Cover up all the potatoes with the dirt and rocks and let them cook for 30 min.

So basically it is cooked potatoes in the ground, and they are actually pretty good! We will have to try it when I get back! So kinda like an early 4th of July, but we didnt do anything for it. Thats fine, I am in Peru, they dont celebrate it here haha!

Other than that for the week we didnt do anything too interesting. Just working here hard and seeing if we can help the investigators out. Elvis didnt come to church again and wasnt there in his house all week, we we are praying that he can attend and continue to progress toward baptism maybe next month. The family from Lucre werent there either, always working and super hard to find them during the week. So we have people that want to progress just need to complete with the commandments and all that.

But overall this week we got better in working with a few people, and finding new people to teach. Our goal now as missionaries is to find new people to teach and teach them, and receive new references from anyone. So this week we got a lot of references and a lot of new people to teach, so things are doing better in that sense. And to help us this week, all the missionaries of the stake met with the stake president to train us with our ward mission leaders on how to grow in the work of salvation in our stake in Cusco. Just hoping all goes well with all these things to work better with the members and finding news during this time!

Building the watia

Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 42 -- President Uchtdorf Visit

Wow, another week down here in Urcos and another transfer down too! 7 changes now in the mission, and really the time is flying!. Almost at the 10 month mark, before I know it, I will be hitting the 1 year mark and going downhill from there. But I am staying in Urcos for another transfer to finish the training with Elder Palacios! But I love it here, the people, the atmosphere, and all about it.

So this week was an interesting week, full of work, but one event was the best! Cusco had the chance to have a special meeting just for Cusco with PRESIDENT UCHTDORF of the First Presidency of the church!!! So it was soooo amazing to see an apostle of the Lord and listen to his words for Cusco itself. He said a lot of things, so we had the chance to be in the same chapel as him and listen to the words from him, which are words straight from the Lord. You could feel the Spirit there and everyone was so attentive on his words. He spoke a lot about temples because he came straight from the temple dedication of Trujillo Sunday to speak Monday. He told Cusco that we could have a temple here, just we need to keep the commandments, and keep moving along in the missionary work. And if we did that, we could see our very own temple in Cusco and how awesome would that be!! And I think the best part was when he said this phrase, "I know the Lord lives, I KNOW Him." It is so awesome that he KNOWS the Savior because he is an apostle of the Lord, and it was wonderful to have that meeting with him and feel that Spirit that he brings.

Also this week, Elder Palacios and I had the chance to work in a local fair of Cusco, kinda think of your state or county fair and that was what it was like. With booths and exhibits, and food, and rides and all that jazz. But we worked in the booth of the church, all about family history, and to show our work with the Cusco Regional Archive. They work with the members of the church to document government documents, and pictures, and all the things to search for on FamilySearch. So us as missionaries had turns to work there and contact people who want to learn more about family history and get interested in what the church does with Cusco. And it was a success, throughout the afternoon alone we had like 100 names to contact and share more information with them in their homes. So it was a fun time.

And to finish it all, our investigators are doing well. Elvis, who is on track to baptism for the 18th of July, is doing well, We had a good lesson with him, answering questions, and covering doubts he has. A lot on the word of wisdom and why we have that, so we are hoping the best to this. But the only thing is that he didnt attend this week, and he needs to attend 2 more times at least before the baptism. And many others that we have arent progressing as well, needing to attend, or read, or pray and arent doing those things to progress. Also many of them need to be married first, and most people here never get married! Frustrating! But all is well here in Urcos for Elder Palacios and I! Love you guys, have fun in all you do!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 41 -- Trujillo Temple Dedication

Well this week was interesting to say the least......lots of things to talk about this week! Well Ill jump right into it with all the wonderful events that happened with everything this week.

Well yesterday was the best, the dedication for the Trujillo Peru Temple! So there were no meetings in the chapels, just in the stake centers, the dedication was broadcasted to each stake center. And it was like we were in the temple, so only members and members with a reccomend were able to enter and see. But it was a wonderful experience, to hear so many wonderful talks and see how a temple is dedicated to be a house of the Lord. So President Uchtdorf was there, with Elder Bednar, and also the Presidency of the Area, so we were able to hear from each of them and receive some great messages on the importance of the temple in our lives. There were 3 sessions, so we were in Cusco the whole day and enjoyed the great time to see the just wishing I could see the dedication of the Indianapolis Temple too, but I will be here.

Also this week we had interviews with President Harbertson, who was visiting each room of the missionaries in all of the mission. So this week, President and his wife, and the assistants were in our room to see how clean it is and if everything is in order, and then we had the interviews and a little bit of training. It was great, our room was clean and we had everything ready for them to come. But I got to talk about Urcos with him and he gave me some excellent advice and council on what I needed to do to see more progress here in the area. And it was great, Hermana Harbertson encouraging us on studying and learning English with our Latino companions. And that was about it, about an hour and they left.

But some other random tid bits, is that I finally got to help an English class in a school here. So it was kinda funny, to hear the language of English here and it wasnt that good anyway. But I am helping each Wednesday to help them with pronunciation and how to do a few things in English.....should be fun haha. And also not much work done this week because we were in Cusco for meetings, and interviews, and the dedication. So we had a solid 2 or so days to work in total in Urcos. But we have someone with a baptism date for July 18!! A new investigator Elvis that attended last week, and attended a baptism for a youth in the branch. So he is awesome and is progressing soooo well!!

But a very eventful week and just hoping to get to work again this week and see more progress for our little branch here! And we get to see President Uchtdorf today at night, we have a devotional with him and we cant wait!! Elder Bednar we have heard might also be with I will let you all know how that goes and what I was able to learn from an apostle of the Lord!! Well until next week!

Baptism of Nefi.....the branch president´s son.

This week was the anniversary of the plaza was packed!!

We were walking and found a donkey just in the street.

Hermana Olga and Hermana Carmen.....2 members of the branch for the dedication.

The District San Jeronimo!!!! 4 Hermanas and 4 Elders

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 40 -- 20th Birthday

This week was awesome!! We had some really good success and it really is starting to come together with some things in Urcos! Also I got to spend my 20th birthday here in Peru and being with the wonderful people of Urcos and eating a lot of cake haha. So needless to say, it was an interesting week with things to do.

So this week, our numbers were amazing!! We found more people to teach, we contacted new people, people are coming up to us now asking who we are, and also just having more lessons progress. So it was wonderful! Nilda and Ruben, from Lucre, they all attended again!! They are wanting to be baptized, so now we just need to set a date, and finish up all the lessons with them!! It is awesome to see all the family attend and all are loving it, so they are the best. Also we found a new investigator Elvis, who is a brother of a recent convert, and he attended too! All he said was that he felt peace and tranquility during church and he wants to come back next week, so another person is coming up out of nowhere. And the best part was during church this was Branch Conference, so we had a lot of members of the stake there to help us with attendance, but we jumped up to 60 this week!! From 28 last week to 60, we doubled our attendace! And the better part was that we had 9 investigators in the sacrament meeting!! NINE! That is like super weird, just everyone came this week!! So things are looking up for Urcos right now!! Hoping all can continue to work out and people can progress.....updates on all of them next week.

And also this week, I got to eat a lot of cake for my birthday....acutally 3 cakes I had! haha My branch president and his family made me one and we had a good time at his house....and pictures of cake in my face to come. Also an investigator made me a cake, that was suuuuper good, so more chocolate. And finally we had a cake with our pensionista, but it wasnt any old was Mississippi Mud Cake. So thanks mom for the recipe, we ended up making it and it was the best!! I miss it so much and it was a little taste of home...but all the people here think it is too sweet, but I understand haha. But other than that, my birthday was another day here, working hard and trying to help out Urcos. So yeah Im 20 now and I dont feel any different! haha Well until next week!

First, my companion and I got to kill a chicken with our hands!!! So I grabbed the body and my companion twisted the neck to kill it. So that was interesting!!

The "Mirador" above Urcos.

Elder Shwop! They cant spell my name here.

It is a tradition to bite the cake, but when you do, they shove your face in the cake. So a few shots of me with cake on my face!

Me with all the investigators and members from Lucre.

Sariah, who is a daughter that has mental problems.....she wanted to put a plate on her head haha

So this shrine thing had a bunch of saints and things on it, but then at the bottom.....the pass along cards from our church, from the missionaries ahah

Elder Palacios and I making a cake with our investigator, with all the candles too

Then finally, when we got to eat the Mississippi Mud Cake.....Delicious!!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 39

Well, yet another week down and again, the time is flying this week as usual! But not too many things happened this week, so I will try my best to make it sound fun.

So, just continuing to work hard this week and continue to see progress in Urcos....but we did see a little bit of progress this week. So we started to really focus on our recent converts and helping a lot of them out to progress once again. So Olga, is a recent convert and is doing wonderful in the church, and now is ready to go to the temple, just needs to wait a little longer to go to the temple for her endowments. But we are teaching her all about family history and she is sooo excited to get started. And our other converts are starting to progress little by little now. Also that we found Lucero after like 2 months away and now are teaching her again.....and she wants to be baptized. So we are preparing her to be baptized in July. So we are hoping for the best with here. But sad news is that the family from Lucre didnt come to church, but we did talk to them and they want to listen and do all the things to be baptized. Just a little hard at times to get to them. But again, just trying to help them with what they need.

And one day, for the whole afternoon we had no power,  so imagine just walking the streets in the middle of the mountains without light for awhile. So basically no one was home, just went to bed early and we had no luck with anyone. So we spent a good while in our rooms with candles and just trying to pass the time without light. So that was fun. Other than that, Elder Palacios and I are just working hard this week again, and trying our best to help our the branch and raise the attendance too. Because this week we had 28, which is nottttt very much. So our goal is really to get people to come to church and see the blessings of attending the church.

Also, I got my package Courtney!! Thanks so much for all the goodies and all the snacks to eat. So I will celebrate my birthday with many goodies and the people here in Peru! Dont worry, I will still work normal on my birthday too....haha But yeah, not just waiting until the 21st for the dedication of the Trujillo Peru Temple, and each stake building will have the broadcast of the sessions there. So we need to have a reccomend to enter to watch the sessions.....but it should be awesome! And the 22nd, someone from the First Presidency is coming to Cusco, so we will see a general authority in a few weeks and receive some awesome council!! haha So exciting times!! Until next week!

So we went to our branch presidents house, so I tried on a traditional Cusco hat with a enjoy

My dad Elder Martinez, me, and my son Elder Palacios.....3 generations.

Me with my package!!! Thanks Courtney

....and all the goodies/snacks.

Our pensionista cooking cuy (guinea pig) in her big oven. Enjoy the close up!! haha

Us with our candles without power for awhile.

Just wanted to try on the funny hat at a members house