Sunday, January 10, 2016

Interesting weekend

The Hassler's invited us to go with them this weekend to two areas of the mission that are a little more remote.  It was a great experience as they were teaching us how this "Traveling in Peru" goes. We as missionaries in the Cuzco Mission do not have cars, we get to take public transportation.  So yesterday and today we spent 2-3 hours on a bus and then changed to a crowded van for 1-2 hours. We did this both days. The vans and buses do not work on a particular schedule, they just leave when they are full, so you just wait patiently and hope you have allowed enough time to get where you need to go. When we get off the bus or van, we take a taxi to the final destination.  We do this with all of our technology loaded in our backpacks. We had to stay the night so we included a small bag of toiletries and that is all - there isn't room on the vans for extras,  It is also the rainy season so we brought an umbrella. Here is a picture of a couple of the modes of transportation we used this weekend.
The thing in front is a taxi, a 3 wheel motorcycle with a seat in the back, they are called "Tuk Tuks" in Guatemala, they are all decorated differently.  When we get a taxi in Cuzco it is just a car, these three-wheel things are not available in Cuzco.  That is a bus in the background, you can take these but they get really crowded and stop a lot.  The bus we took on the longer ride was a lot nicer, but the van was wall to wall people, they even put a stool in the aisle to get one more person on.

This is Elder Hassler and Elder Poulsen walking the streets as missionaries just as they did almost 40 years ago.  Don't they look happy?

We visited this sweet sister in her home trying to help her with putting her parents and grandparents on familysearch.  This is her entire living space.  Look at the great sister missionaries.  It was incredible to watch them in action as they embraced this poor, lonely sister with such genuine love and compassion.  Elder Hassler and Elder Poulsen gave her a priesthood blessing, she had been feeling sick when we arrived.  We look a picture of her and printed it right there and gave it to her.  We could not help her with familysearch, but we did get copies of the names and dates she gave us of her ancestors.

This is me eating lamb at a bus terminal in remote Sicuani, Peru.  It was delicious, so tender.  They cook the lamb in a brick oven for hours, haul it here in a big bag and a blanket over the husband's shoulder.  He lays it on the counter and the woman behind us in the picture reaches in the bag with a cleaver and starts chopping.  Then she places a big piece on our plate with roasted potatoes, We sit down and eat with our hands, there are no knives and forks at this place.  This lady has a line of customers waiting to buy her food, it is that good.

This is the Church we went to today.  It is a beautiful, large building, but only the chairs showing were filled.  There was a lot of growth a few years back so the Church built these nice buildings, but membership made a nosedive right after the churches were built, so here they are almost empty.  So guess who was asked to bare testimony today in Sacrament Meeting and gave an impromptu class (which included everyone who attended Sacrament Meeting)?  That would be us.  There is no Young Men or Young Women and no Primary, so we all fit into one large room, the rest of the Church was empty.  One young return Missionary, lead the music, gave a talk, conducted and gave the lesson after ours.  He is amazing, so humble and full of faith.  Elder Hassler and Elder Poulsen gave another Priesthood Blessing to a sister after the meetings. 
 The night before, Saturday night we met an amazing Stake President that is also acting as a Bishop because they cannot find anyone to be the Bishop.  This has been going on for months, He also has a young family. I just don't know how he can do both callings.  He has so much faith, but he looked tired, He asked us to help him find his ancestors and his wife's ancestors(she is an orphan), We will be making the trip again to help him with that, it is the only help he asked  for.

The cities we visited are located about 14,000 feet in altitude, it the the Altiplano. Some of the people wear the native dress and speak Ketchua.  Several of the sisters in Church were dressed in their big skirts, sweaters and adorable hats.  It was such a great experience to be with these people at Church. Their faith in Christ is inspiring.

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