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 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.
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.