Monday, June 25, 2012

We have had one senior couple serving in our mission since we
arrived, Scott and Carol Nelson.  Recently they just finished their
23 month mission.  We are extremely grateful for their service to the Lord.   They brought with them years of experience in the church
and shared this experience where ever they served.  For the first five months they served in a ward here in Lima, as proselyting missionaries.  Then they served in a jungle city for 14 months and helped to establish a new branch of the church.  They finished their mission in Lima by helping nearly fifty people attend the temple.   They returned home with a treasure of memories.
We are so grateful for their willingness to serve. Elder Amos Mendoza was the first missionary they helped prepare and send out from the new branch of the church they helped establish in the jungle city of Nauta. 
Senior couples are greatly needed.

Once the Nelsons left Nauta a new branch presidency was called.  
Pres. Chucos is in the middle is the branch president and the other
members of the presidency have all been members less than two years. 
While we were in Nauta this past month we attended a baptismal service. 
Our purpose as missionaries 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 gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. 
A family of six were baptized, 
a father, a mother, and their four children.
Elder Luna and Elder Sigurdson  taught this family.  It truly was a
joyous occasion for this family.  They were all united
by their faith in Christ.
This was our departing group of missionaries this transfer.
Here are some of our great zone leaders.   The mission is divided into zones, which basically are geographical areas.  Each zone has two young men that supervise the missionaries in that area. We depend upon these young men to  lead and guide their zones under the presidents supervision.  Once a month we have leadership training with them.
Pictured here are Elders; Condi, Nunez, Huntsman,  and Franks.

Our zone leaders love to eat and hot dogs are a big hit.
Piles of mustard and mayonaise make it even better. 
Pictured here are Elders; Gomez, Leiva, Smith, Bahr, and Hunt.

President and Sister Uchtdorf  along with Elder and Sister Cook visited our mission recently.  You can read about their visit in the Church News at the link below.

Our church is governed  today by apostles,  reflecting the way Jesus organized His Church in biblical times.  We do not believe God has left us alone in this world but that we have a prophet and apostles that still lead and guide us today.  These men lead the Church worldwide and serve as special witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Cook are apostles. After the dedication of the Manaus Temple in Brazil they flew to Iquitos Peru to edify and uplift the church members that live in Iquitos.  Their visit was historic.
It was a once in a life time experience for all of us, members, missionaries, and new investigators to hear apostles of the Lord speak. 
When the meeting concluded Pres. Uchtdorf told the people of the great love he and the Lord has for them.  The congregation rose to their feet and began waving many with tears in their eyes, as they bid farewell.  It was a very touching scene to behold. 
During their visit they spent a few hours seeing some of the
sites  along the Amazon River.
These giant lily pads are called victoria regias.
Pres. and Sister Uchtdorf and Elder Cook and his wife enjoying
some of the abundant wild life and vegetation of the region.
Canoes are seen all along the river banks.

You may ask why houses are built on stilts.  Each year during the rainy season in the Amazon jungle the rivers flood.  The water level rises as much as twenty to forty feet.  People continue to live in these areas because the land is cheap or free.  Along the river life is primitive 
This month has been training meetings with the missionaries.  We have met with all the zones and practiced skills to make them better teachers. This is the zone in Tarapoto. 
Elder Barragan is teaching the missionaries about ways to contact and talk to people.  For many of our young people this is a hard task to do.  Our young people live in such a technolgy oriented society many have not develped very good people communication skills.
After we teach, then we have them practice what they have learned.
One of the things we teach them is to have a smile on their face.  This is challenge for some but not for Sister Gee and Sister Orellana
To break things up we celebrate birthdays and play a few simple games. 
And the winner gets........ a loaf of banana bread! 
A treasured treat.
We are playing a game called Listo Calle, their smiles tell the story.

On occasion we have the opportunity to visit families,  to edify and
strengthen their faith.  Many times in the jungle regions we walk into the
humblest of homes.  No refrigerators or running water, dirt floors and a few benches to sit on. By our standards they live in extreme poverty.  Their primary concern is providing food for their family.  Meralita's husband has traveled down river to obtain employment. 
Yet, despite these conditions they are happy.  The one treasured pocession they have is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the great hope He offers all His children.

  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 

  Despite Meralita's living conditions notice the beautiful smile she has on her face.  Her family and the gopsel fo Jesus Christ are the most precious things she has.    
Her children were fascinated with my camera. 
Their family does not have a camera so it was fun for them
to see themselves in a photo. 
Here they are at church on Sunday.  I think you will all
agree, they look like little angels.
They love primary! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Many people wonder why our church sends out missionaries. 
 This is a great question. 
This family was recently baptized after having been taught by Elder Sanchez and Elder Smith.  The missionary effort of our church is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in Jesus Christ. At any one time
our church has about 52,000 missionaries serving in various parts of the world.  Missionaries are only sent to countries where governments allow the Church to operate.  In some parts of the world our missionaries are not allowed to preach but serve in humanitarian causes.  If you
have other questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints many of your questions can be answered by going to:
The gospel of Jesus Christ changes our personal lives and
changes the lives of families.  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Our missionaries teach people with open minds and hearts about this doctrine and invite people to "come unto Him".  

Our mission has many contrasts. There is a drastic difference between the jungle cities and Lima. About half of our missionaries are serving in the jungle cities of Iquitos, Pucallpa, Tarapoto, Nauta, Moyobamba, Rioja, Nueva Cajamarca, Soritor, Campo Verde and Yurimaguas. 

In some parts of the jungle living conditions are very rustic.  Sometimes the power goes out and at times the water supply is limited. Despite these limitations the work of the Lord continues. 
When the president travels to the districts of the church (small congregations) he is the visiting priesthood leader and is respoinsible to interview people with various needs.  The other night he was right in the middle of interviews when the power went out, not just for a few minutes but for two hours.  With lots of people waiting for interviews he improvised and moved to the back patio where he conducted the rest of the interviews by moonlight. The Lords work needed to continue.  Thank goodness for the warm moonlit nights in the jungle. 

 The other half of our missionaries serve in Lima. Lima is a massive city and our mission has some of the most northern cities. These include. Wiesse, Canto Grande, Magnolias, Comas, Carabayllo, Indenpendencia, and Tahuantinsuyo.  We try and see all the missionaries once a month.   
 Traffic in the jungle.
 Traffic in Lima.
 We finished up our last zone conferences in Lima this week.
For you moms or dads still looking for your missionary, hopefully, they are in one of these zone pictures.  If you haven't found them in the last serveral posts maybe you are looking in the wrong mission.  I have tried to take everyones picture.   
This is zona Wiesse.

 Zona Magnolias
 Zona Canto Grande
 We are glad to have these new elders in our mission.
Elder Woolstenhulme and Elder Anderson from Utah and
Elder Maldonado from Honduras. 
 Zona Pucallpa, baptismal service. 
 "The purpose of the gospel is make bad men good and good men better and to change human nature." 
That is why our missionaries serve missions so they can invite
others to come unto Christ.  As they serve they find themselves and
they come to know Christ themselves. 
It is a privilege to serve with them and along side of them. 
 The jungles of Peru.
 Since it continually rains in the jungle, there are many rivers flowing.
These rivers wind throughout the jungle. 
During heavy rains they always look dirty from all
the dirt that is washed in.