Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This is Nauta Peru. Nauta is located about two hours by car from Iquitos. We have four elders and a senior couple working on establishing a new church here. Missionaries initially opened the city last fall for the first time. Our senior couple arrived in Nauta in January of 2011. At that time there were 8 baptized members. As of Sunday April 24, 20011 there were 31 baptized members and 73 people attending church. The missionaries are doing an amazing work here.

Nauta is located on a river. Many towns are located on rivers, as that is the means of transportation for many people. Nauta was a two day boat ride from Iquitos but now you can reach it by car in two hours.

These boys from Nauta were pretty proud of their catch. The biggest fish was three inches long. They were fishing off a bridge with fishing line and hook tied around the end of a long stick.

Many of the jungle cities have high water right now because of the rain. They build temporary walk paths with 12 inch wide boards. For years Nauta's economy was supported by the fishing. Several years ago a company polluted the river and the fish were killed. As a result many people live in great poverty. Children need shoes, school supplies and clothing. They do what ever they can to earn a bit of money to buy food. Most homes have dirt floors and very little furnishings.

This senior couple are doing a great work of establishing the church in Nauta. They bring with them so much experience and they know how the church is to operate. The people love them and they love the people. They are carefully watching over this little flock in Nauta. Each week they account for every family that should be there. After church on Sunday a little boy ran up to Hermana Nelson and gave her a great big kiss on the cheek.

On Easter Sunday Nauta became an official group of the church. This is the casa capilla or house chapel that they meet in. There were 73 people in attendance on Sunday.

The Nelsons were anxious for their church members to hear the words of the prophet during general conference the first weekend in April. So they worked hard to make it happen. This is the group that traveled two hours to attend a satellite broadcast in a stake center in Iquitos.

Elder Nelson worked hard to make the trip to Iquitos possible. What great vision this senior couple has in helping these new converts and investigators gain their own testimonies.

The Nelsons are our only senior couple serving in our mission. What an adventure they are having in helping to establish for the first time a church in Nauta. They bring valuable wisdom and experience with them and are working hard to help the new members of Nauta learn how to be new members of a growing congregation.

Rain turns the dirt roads into a lot of mud. Many of our missionaries use boots during the rainy season in the jungle. I had to walk about a half mile down this road to get to an apartment our missionaries live in. Nobody told me a I needed boots.

In the jungle areas of our mission there has been a lot of rain thus a lot of mud on the side streets. When it is summer time in Lima it becomes the rainy season in the jungle cities. All this rain produces high water in the rivers so a lot of flooding occurs.

There is an area of Iquitos that floods every year known as Belen. This is the poorest area of Iquitos and many people live here because they do not have to pay taxes and other fees because of the flooding. Many of these homes are built on twenty foot stilts. They use twelve inch boards to make bridges out to their homes.

It takes about three months for the water to recede, then to earn some money for their families they plant three crops. First rice is planted to help dry out the ground, then corn and finally watermelon. Many people live their whole lives here.

Many of the people in Belen have small farms in the jungle that they work. Their crops they bring in by boat into the Belen market. Their living conditions are very primitive.

This man is carrying palms leaves that have been woven together to make roofing material. Many of the homes have roofs made our of palm leaves. These types of roofs keep the rain out and last about ten years. Unlike tin roofs that trap the hot air in, the palm leaf roofs let more hot air out keeping a home cooler.

These two missionaries are working in a town called Santa Clara. When they first arrived there were about 20 people attending church. After four months of work they now have 60 people attending church.

These are the sister missionaries serving in Tarapoto Peru.

This is how rice and coffee beans are dried in the jungle cities, in the hot sun. Once or twice a day you will see people out bare foot stirring up the beans to help them dry.

On a preparation day we had the opportunity to visit a town called Lamas. In Lamas there is a group of native people. They make everything they use by hand. This lady is making pottery that they use to cook and eat with. The men hunt and farm in the jungles around their village.

This sweet lady from the village was selling some pottery she had made. The black beads around her neck she wears in remembrance of family member that has died.

We visited Lamas with the the temple president and his wife on a preparation day. They traveled with us to Tarapoto to speak at a district conference with us. A temple president had never traveled to Tarapoto before so the people were delighted to have them come. They gave out temple cards to all the adults and children.

Lima is not known for its blue skies but our day at the temple with a group of departing missionaries couldn't have been any more perfect.

Our latest group of missionaries to depart the mission. They go home to serve the Lord in a different capacity now.

This missionary couldn't get over the fact he wasn't a teenager anymore. Now he has to really grow up. Not many people have ovens here in Peru, but there are many stores that sell tortas.

Out checking apartments this Elder had some fun with this turtle he found. He is an excellent missionary serving from Bolivia.

At missionary training sessions we do a lot of practicing with the elders and sisters. Some have great people skills others have to develop confidence in talking to people. We help them learn how to ask inspired questions and how to listen to what people have to say. These are skills that not every nineteen old has. Many of them have grown up in front of computers playing video games and haven't learned very good people skills. So we do a lot of practicing of all these skills so they can be successful.

A missionary's purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

These are the missionaries that taught Efrain about God's plan of happiness for His children. This plan is centered in Jesus Christ and His teachings.

Here we are just before the baptism with Efrain's family.

After the missionaries taught Efrain he decided to get baptized and he asked Larry to baptize him. This is Efrain's beautiful family.

Efrain is a police officer that Larry met one night while out working with the zone leaders in the Wiesse area of Lima. Larry discovered that his wife was a less active member of our church so Larry invited both of them to attend church on Sunday as we would be speaking at the meeting. On Sunday about fifteen minutes after the meeting started they both walked in and sat down. Efrain had decided he would be willing to let the missionaries come to his home and teach him about the gospel of Jesus Christ.