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

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 38

June!! Where is the time going? Just 1 year ago I graduated and now I have almost 9 months in the mission......seems super fast. But yet another good week of work with my companion Elder Palacios! He is super awesome and really funny at times, and I need that, a funny guy but he wants to work and get things done. So we hit the pavement this week determined to get some progress.

I have heard that some other areas get way more lessons a week than us, so we ended up getting more than my whole time here, with investigators, less actives, and some recent converts too. We are putting emphasis on finding new investigators by contacting families, and asking and receiving references. So we did have a bit of success with references, but we need to improve on contacting random families in the street. But yeah, the work is progressing a little more here, we still need to make a plan with the leaders in the branch in branch council. Which we had for the first time in awhile, it is just sometimes the leaders are inactive and they dont know what to do most of the time, so mroe work. Imagine Sunday too, church starts at 10 but nearly every person comes at 10:15 and we have like 10 people to start sacrament meeting. Let me tell you, Peruvians are soooo late and impunctual! Frustrating at times, but we just try to help them get there early.

Also this week our zone is putting more emphasis on a lot of new forms to track the progress of recent converts and how to help the branch help us. So they are a lot of forms to fill out, but we can see the progress and then make plans to help each person progress to the temple, which is the goal for every person. Other than that, we had a great week of work with getting lessons and finding a few news to teach. And that family from Lucre had a lesson, and they are so ready to get baptized, just need to attend more and then have the lessons that they need. They are having a few problems, so we are trying our best to help them progress!! Cant wait to see.....well that is it....just working hard here in Urcos and getting things done!!