Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last Two Zone Conferences

 Beautiful blue skies and farmland.

Our last two zone conferences were in the jungle cities
of Moyobamba and Pucallpa.  On the
road to Moyobamba.
It is the rainy season right now in the jungle.  "Winter " to the locals.  When it rains a lot, it is their winter.  Coming from Oregon you expect it to be cold when it rains but this is not true in the selva.  With a lot of rain and run off the rivers run high and are very muddy.  It is common to see areas of flooding.
Local business section of Moyobamba.
 Zona Moyobamba:  Elder Reina, Luna, Maldonaldo, Presidente, Woolstenhulme, VandeMerme, Clavijo, Valencia, Maldonado, Vasquez y Bustos
President spend an evening working with Elders Woolstenhulme, y Bustos.
Then we were off to Pucallpa for our last zone conference.  This jungle man always greets us outside the airport. He has a bundle of bananas on his back with a shovel and machette in his hands.
Completing the first twelve week program Elders; Stephens, Scott and Ruiz
 Practicing is not a favorite activity with the missionaries but we do a lot of it.  As we practice little by little our skills become better.  Learning to be a good teacher is a process. Here Elder Scott and Elder Florian pracitce a lesson.
Elder Fisher is training Elder Quispe
 This zone was on fire last month earning their 8/4/2 certificates. 
This is a hard certificate to earn because it requires the cooperation of the
members.  If the members will be involved in the missionary work the missionaries have much more sucess in finding families to teach. 
 Elder Flores and Elder Truman
Sister Rider and Sister Rodrigez
 Zona Pucallpa is on fire!  They have the vision of finding familes to teach.
This foto is for our kids back home.  For all the times you were so embarrassed when we showed up in the van that had no hub caps or gave you a kiss in front of all your friends.  We love you!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Zone Conferences Continue

We are extremely pleased that our prophet has invited young men 18 years old to serve missions and young women 19 years old to serve missions.  With that announcement has come  much excitement and many have submitted their paper work to serve a mission. To accomodate the increased number of missionaries 58 new missions world wide have been created.  We were thrilled to hear the announcement of the newly created  Peru Iquitos Mission, which was created from part of our present mission, the Peru Lima North Mission.  
The new Iquitos Mission will begin operation July 1, 2013. 
Included here are a few pictures of the Iquitos area.
Above is the view as you fly in to Iquitos which only can be reached by
air or river travel.   
Plaza de Armas
 Iquitos sunset.
Developing areas of Iquitos.
With the expectation of more missionaries we received our largest group of missionaries on February 12th.  We picked up 34 new missionaries at the Lima Missionary Training Center. 
President Blunck is checking his roster to make sure we have all of our newly assigned missionaries before we load the bus.
Welcome!! Benvenidos!!
Each missionary arrives with all of their belongings for two years in two large suitcases.  This is what you call wall to wall luggage. 
Our trainers are excited to meet  their new companions. They are assigned to be their trainer for at least 12 weeks.
 Sister Melo enjoyed visiting with  Sister Rider.
 Elder Nurmela enjoys lunch with Elder Belnap.
Elder Valdez enjoyed talking to Elder Amaya.
Tuesday the new missionaries arrived and on Wednesday all the zone leaders came to Lima for leadership training.  Each companionship of zone leaders is in charge of 10 to 20 missionaries.  Once a month they
receive training from the President and his assistents.
The focus of this training was on how to effectively plan your week.  There are so many skills these young people don't know, so we constantly are teaching them, to help them to improve their skills.  They each have a daily planner but many of them do not know how to use it effectively.  These zone leaders will take what they learn and go back and teach it to their zones. 
Elder Anderson and Elder Ortega take a look at their new planning board. 

 Elder Collins and Elder Ojeda are taking the information from their area book and putting it on their planning board.
Lima is located in a coastal desert region of the Peru.  This is the country side view just outside of Lima.  It is so dry here nothing grows on the hillsides.  To the Spaniards, the climate was very similar to their mediterranean climate and there also existed a natural port on the coast line. A perfect choice to for them.   One of the first things they did was plant an olive grove to produce olive oil. Some of the
 original trees exist today. 
A regional food Peru is known for is ceviche.
This is a spicy dish made with all kinds of seafood that is cooked in lime juice.  We recently visited a little port that was full of fisherman and their brightly painted boats.   
We saw fisherman unloading their catch and these retired fisherman
repairing the fishing nets.  The nets are hand repaired once a week. 

A retired fisherman hard at work mending nets.

 Here are all the supplies you need make a great ceviche.  This woman had her little stand set up right outside the dock were they unload the fish.    Fresh fish right off the boats! 
People work so hard here in Peru to make a living.
Stories of real life here in Peru!  
Our latest group of missionary to finish their missions were:  Elders; Nunez,  Becerra, Ortega, Olguin, Vilca, Quispe, Chavez, Orsorio, Valdivieso, Hernanadez, Conde, Hernanadez, Hermana Grow and Hermana Sosa.  Our desire fo them is that they will go home and continue to walk in righteousness  and serve God for the rest of their lives. 
We completed another zone conference that included the zones of Comas, Carabayllo, Tayuantinsuyo, and Independencia.  Their call is to invite others to come unto Christ.  First they have to teach people what the Doctrine of Christ is.  For the scriptures teach that "there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.  The promise given to man is if he shall accept this doctrine and live this doctrine : "he shall have eternal life" and the "the companionship of the Holy Ghost."  These are the great gifts God offers each of us.       

 Our sisters in the mission are some of our most powerful teachers.  The the love of God radiates from them.  It is privilege to have them in our mission. Hermanas: Choque, Cherry, Zagal, Melo, Taipe Stull, and Sandovalin.  They have all been so patient with me and my Spanish.  They help me with my Spanish and I help them with their English. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings us together.    

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On the road again.

We are on the road again this month with zone conferences for all the missionaries.  Our first stop was the "city of palms" Tarapoto. Tarapoto sits in topical valley surrounded by mountains.  I could not resist taking a picture of this tropical flower, it is so unique.  While in Tarapoto we met with fourteen  missonaries and took some time to find an apartment for a senior couple that will be entering the mission in March.  We are so excited to have them in our mission.  They will serve in the city of Tarapoto helping with leadership training and re-activation.  I refer to Tarapoto as the rustic Hawaii of Peru. 
 Elders serving in Zona Tarapoto
The rustic Hawaii of Peru
Our stay in Tarapoto was short, then it was off to a zone conferences in Lima with zonas Wiesse, Magnolias and Canto Grande. Our zone conferences are focusing on The Doctrine of Christ, working with  church members to help progress the missionary work and how to introduce the Book of Mormon.  Most people don't realize that the book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and contains the fullness of His gospel.
God asks all people to read this sacred book, to ponder in their hearts the message and the words it contains and then ask God if it is true or not.  The wonderful promise given is that all men can know for themselves by the power of the Holy Ghost if it is true or not. 
The Bible and the Book of Mormon both testify of Christ.    
 Zona Magnolias
Zona Canto Grande
 When new missionaries enter the mission they are each invited to participate in the first 12 week program.  It is a study program for all new misisonaries world wide.  They learn how to study, plan, prepare lessons and they practice, practice and practice these new skills with their trainers. In our mission once they complete this program they are awarded a ceritficate of completion.  We ask them to share their opinion about this program and they all love it.  It prepares them all to be better missionaries.
Zona Wiesse
There is nothing more inspiring than a room full of missionaries.  Each comes from a different background, different country and they all look a bit different too.  Some are tall, some short, some pudgy, some skinny, some have lots of hair others not much.  The one thing that unites them is the gospel of Jesus Christ and their desire to share His gospel with others. 
After our training in Lima we were off to Iquitos to meet with the four zones in Iquitos for zone conference.   

 Iquitos is such a unique city to visit.  You find home made wooden buses driving down the road right next to moto taxis. The main mode of tranportaion is by means of moto taxis and family car for most families is a motocycle.  It is not uncommon to see a family of four on a single motorcycle.   

Many of the side streets in Iquitos are dirt, turning to mud when it rains.  The missionaries all have boots to wear.  I call them barn yard boots but the locals call them botas.
 The best way to help a missionary improve his skills is by practicing, practicing and practicing.  We practice how to teach people different lessons. We practice how to listen to people's concerns and answer their questions.  Each missionary enters the field with a different skill sets.  Some are good comunicators others are not and they have to learn these skills. For some it is a challenge to smile, for others it is a challenge to talk to others. Here Elders Vilca, Anderson, Wilson and Cruz are practicing how to share a spiritual message with church members.  We have found there are three things  missionaries really don't like to do; push ups, contacting people and practicing.  As a mission one of our mottos is:  We can do hard things!  We  practice these three things a lot.  Yes, President Blunck can do a lot of push ups!!!    
 Completing the first 12 week program are Elders Limon, Mossman and Olivera
Hermana Sanchez and Hermana Stull practicing with Elder Collins and Elder Tito
 Zonas Iquitos, Punchana, Secada and 9 de Octubre
 When we arrived in Iqutos we enjoyed dinner with all the Hermanas serving in Iqutos.  These sisters are just great.  They are really focused on teaching families the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They love what they have been called to do and His love radiates from them. 
Hermanas Stull, Sanchez, Boyer, Salinas, Vasquez and Farias
Life in Iquitos, the paving crew was out paving this road by hand. 
 Nauta is our newest church unit to be established while we have served here in Peru. Nobody has been a member for more than two years.  Now some of the youth are starting to serve missions from that new branch.  Their faith is strong and they want to help build the kingdom of God.  Grober and Daniella were set a apart to serve full time missions by President Blunck.  They both enter the mission field on February 13, 2013.   Presently three youth are in the mission field, three more have their callings to serve and three more are preparing their papers to serve.  The missionary work got started when Elder Bakker and Elder Molina were first sent to open up the city of Nauta. 
Elder Baker was able to stand in when President Blunck set apart Elder Cordova.  Elder Baker had worked with this young man when he served in Nueva Cajamarca.