Friday, April 26, 2013

April Greetings

April has been yet another busy month.  It started off by sending off another
missionary from Nauta.  Hermana Aspago will be serving in Chile. 
Then the president was on the road to District Moyobamba.
On the road between Moyobamba and Soritor
was a man off to work in his chacra (small farm).
The saddles they use are made of wood.  It might be
a bit challenging to ride on one of those all day.

 Roads of Soritor where a new branch was just created.
The Branch president in Soritor with his two children.
Elder Reina and Elder Valencia are serving in this new branch. 

A priesthood meeting in Moyobamba.  On the left of the president are the
future missionaires for this district and on the right are the returned missionaries.  The point, our youth programs help prepare the future leadership of our church and our communities in which we live.    
 Pictured here are present missionaries (Elder Thompson and Elder Maldonaldo), future missionaries and a
 returned missionary. Missionary service prepares young men and woman for life.  They learn devotion and love of God, His plan for them, their purpose here and His great love for all mankind. 
April has been the month for interviews with all 200 plus missionaries and apartment checks.  President interviews all the missionaries and I visit all their apartments.  He usually interviews in a local church building and I travel by car or moto taxi to their apartments.  During interview months I am in and out of over 100 apartments and I can't tell you how many flights of stairs I climb.  During this time I also talk to the Latinos about their English study progress.  They get so nervous but I love the opporutnity to hear them talk in English and it also helps me learn Spanish too. Of course we celebrate birthdays all along the way.  Here we celebrate with Elder Truman in Pucallpa.
While we were out interviewing missionaries, our office elders were preparing for another massivo matrimonial (massive wedding).  Getting married here is very expensive so many will get married as a group to save on the expense.  One of God's commandments is that a man and women should be married. This becomes a road block to baptism if a couple is not married and they want to join our church.  The doors of heaven have been opened for us here and we have figured out the process and worked with many local government agenices that are able to help us get people married.  They are realizing how important the family unit is to a more stable community. 
So while we are out taking care of the needs of the mission the office elders are decorating and taking care of every detail for this wedding that is held in our church building. Every detail is attended to, it is absolutely amazing what 19-21 year old elders can do.   
 Balloon decorating at it's finest.
We have both young couples and older couples that want to be married. 
My heart is touched when I see these older couples who have children and sometimes grandchildren coming to finally get married. 

 A community official presides and administers their vows
 in a short ceremony. 
Here are a few sweet pictures of the couples and their families . 

Our elders have been helping these couples get all their paper work in order so these couples can be married then baptized. 
Thanks Elder Torres y Elder Chavez  
For me this was one of the sweetest photos to see these two little boys so happy that their mom and dad were getting married. 

 After the wedding ceremony.  Thank for your helping teach this
family the importance of marrige Elder Belnap and Elder Floian.
 A son holding the ring box while dad says his vows to his new wife and present her with a ring.   
When we tell our missionaries we have been married 34 years
most of them can't believe it.  That is a long time!!! 
Sister Zagal and Sister Choque have worked with this young couple to get them married. They have a sweet daughter and another child on the way.   Every child needs a mother and father and a stable home. 
 Thank you sisters.
Here is the crew of office elders that pull off this huge event. 
They are fabulous and we love them. 

The call themselves the coordinators.  Little did they know when they entered the mission that they would be coordinating weddings.   
Some streets of Lima were our missionaries work. 

A few of our friends and family members still wonder why we would give up our lives to come here to Peru .  The answer is really simple.  We have been asked by a prophet of God to come to  Peru to invite  His children that live here to come unto Christ.  It is only when we lose ourselves in the service of other people that we truly find ourselves.  We supervise 200 plus young men and women whose sole purpose for 18 months to 24 months is to invite others to come unto Christ .  We teach that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in these latter days.  Because of that restoration we have the Book of Mormon, which is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Along with the Bible which we believe in they both testify of Christ. We invite all to read this book and ask God for themselves if this book is true or not.  They can know for themselves. If they believe these things to be true we ask them to be baptized into our church. 
This picture is a welcome posted outside the chapel for all guests who had been invited to the Diaz Baptism.   Elder Uribe y Elder Ortega had
taught this couple.  They had received a reference to teach this couple from their son who had been baptized a year earlier. He had been taught
 by Elder Divis.    

The son stands with his mother and father.  He was able to
 baptize them both.

 Grandpa and Grandma Diaz pictured with some of their grandchildren that
attended their baptism.  God's plan is for all of us to have eternal families. 
After the massive marriage and the baptism we headed to Iquitos for interviews, apartment checks and a stake conference. Here is Elder Yano and Elder Meren coming in for their interviews. 

Our month has ended with a visit from Elder Christensen (one of the presidents of the Seventy) and his wife along with Elder Uceda and his wife.  They visited our mission on Tuesday April 23, 2012.  Elder Christensen spent 3 hours teaching and training our missionaries.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us.  He talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  He encouraged the missionaries to come to understand for themselves what the atonement means and how they can apply the atonement to their own personal lives.  He asked them what is the evidence in your life that you understand and apply the  atonement?  He talked about three evidences 1) we have the spirit with us, this indicates we have repented, 2) we feel the strengthening power the atonement can bring us when face difficulties, 3) we have the power to change and make our lives better.   Through the atonement we can over come All things.   

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our March Madness


 This is our latest group of missionaries to finish their missions.
Each has learned different lessons about the Atonement of Jesus
Christ during their missions. Specifically, one learned how the Lord helps lighten the hurts and pains we carry in this life.  He lost his mother to cancer during his mission.  He has a firm testimony that because of the Plan of our Heavenly Father he will be able to see her again one day. 
The very next day we received our new group of missionaries. 
President Blunck always loves receiving new missionaries. 
They have great faith and a firm desire to serve.
Transfer days are one of his favorite.
On the left is our new assistent Elder Ortega.  He replaced 
Elder Carranza.  Elder Ortega is from Argentina.   
It is birthday time in Iquitos. These elders are excited to receive a
loaf of banana bread. No worries mom Turner, we remembered your son's allergy to gluten.  He is doing great in Iquitos!!! 
Our group of missionaries in Iquitos who have completed the first
12 week program for new missionaries.  Great job elders!!!
Now you are ready to train.
What an inspired program to better prepare missionaries to teach.
 Where ever we travel we always share the message of Jesus Christ and
His restored gospel with others. Here Elder Uribe is visiting with a school teacher in Nauta. 

Nauta is an hour and a half by road from Iquitos. Missionaries love serving here.  The people live in the most humble of circumstances and the gospel
gives them purpose and new found hope.  They are firm in their faith and desire to serve the Lord.  the Elders serving here are:  Elder Limon, Elder Clavijo, Elder Munoz,  and Elder Thompson. 

Our daughter Janeece gave birth  on March 4th to our seventh grandchild, baby Hazel Lenore.  She is named after Larry's beloved grandmother.  I was given permission to leave the mission for 10 days to help Janeece who deliverd by C-section.  My 10 day trip quickly became a 9 day trip as my first flight was canceled. I was grateful to be rebooked for the next day.   
During my stay I met up with my Mom and 2 of my sisters for lunch. 
 It was a wonderful reunion with my family.  Here is our four generation picture. 
 I returned to Peru on March 17th.  I was pleased to know my husband had survived and that there had been no medical emergencies. 
Upon arrival I was greeted by Larry's brother who had arrived for visit.  We are so greatful Jeff would come to visit his brother and our mission.  It was a great opportunity for him to learn more about what we are doing here in Peru.   
Presidente Blunck and Jeff, his brother in Tarapoto.
Shortly after Jeff's departure friends from our ward (our church congregation) in Oregon arrived.  We had a fabulous time showing them different areas of our mission.  They got to meet many of our missionaries and participated with us in one of our training meetings.  One evening we all went out and worked with different missionaries.
It was a great experience.     
The following are a few pictures of the sites we saw during their visit. 
Houses made our of large adobe slabs.  Each slab is hand poured then they
compact the adobe by stomping on the clay. 
 A beautiful waterfall near Tarapoto. 
High water season in Iquitos.  Belen area.
Houses are built up on 20 foot pillars.  About 30,000 people live in this flood zone.  Land is cheap and services are free.  Each year this area of Iquitos floods from rising rivers during the rainy season.

Make shift walk ways are made so people can get to their homes during flooding.
Mode of transport during flood season, flatboats.
Walkways become clothes lines.
Perfect reflection on a calm river.
In the jungle swamp areas there are aligators.  No worries moms,
your sons and daughters are serving in large cities and don't see many of these.
Victoria regias,  three foot wide lily pads.
Our friends the Landfords, exploring the the selva.
A red faced monkey that is native to the areas around Iquitos.
We were able to visit a native tribe near Iquitos called the Boras.
They welcomed us to their village with dancing.  These men wear skirts made out of tree bark.  They migrated to Peru from Columbia.  Their head
dress is made of out bird feathers.  It is fascinating to learn how they live in the selva.  They gather everything from nature to live on.  The men hunt small animals and birds by using a blow gun. 
Dave and Shannon Gibb admire these bananas just unloaded from a river boat, they are headed to market.  Dave jumped right in and helped
to load the truck. 
A grandmother was helping her grandson take a bath. 
She is using pure river water because she has no running water in her house.   
Fresh aligator, anyone? 
Actually it is pretty tasty, just like chicken.
This is very typical of how men will carry heavy loads.
People in the jungle work extremely hard everyday just
to provide for their families.
Here we are with our friends outside of our chapel.  Our assistents had each of our friends participate in the training by reading in Spanish from Preach My Gospel. They were great sports and participated with willing hearts.
We are so glad we could share a few short days with our friends from Oregon. It was a thrill for us to introduce them to our missionaries, to work with our missionaries and to have them experience a few sights from our mission.  It is a memory we will all share forever.  Thanks for coming Dave, Shannon, Steve, Karen and Brian.  We loved having you visit us in Peru.
It was as great adventure!!!!