Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday in Juli and Puno

Saturday Feb. 6

After we visited Chokawonka we drove to Puno where we stayed the night.  When we planned this trip we forgot that it was Carnaval.  Carnaval is a big celebration they have every year right before Lent.  They have parades of dancers with elaborate costumes and bands in full dress and shiny instruments.  It lasts for several days and we arrived right in the middle of it.  They decorate the streets with flower petals and confetti.  They have balloons on the windows, doors, cars, everywhere - even in the graveyards.

 It was raining Saturday night but the dancers just kept on dancing.  People of all ages dance their traditional dances with traditional costumes.

 Lyle was excited to find a Pizza Place that night.  It is owned by one of the members in Puno. It was baked in a clay, wood-burning oven.  Yummy!
 Sunday morning we drove to Juli.  It is a tiny branch South of Puno.  The branch was so small that the Elders were doing everything. (I just have to say that all the missionaries here are simply amazing.  They just see what needs done and do it, it was especially true in this small Branch).  The Branch President was there and he had to conduct and give the opening prayer.  There were a handful of women there.  The Elders led the music and prepared and administered the sacrament.  There were no other men, so they called Lyle up to help.  Lyle ended up blessing and passing the sacrament and blessing a baby.  The little blessing circle consisted of Lyle, the elders and the baby. The mother stood just outside of the circle.  Lyle was taken by surprise and didn't know what he was supposed to be doing at first.  He said later that he just hoped he got the name right, luckily the baby was in a blue blanket so that was a clue to the gender. Later toward the end of the meeting, I noticed two young boys had arrived, they probably weren't old enough to pass the sacrament, but someday they will.  There is hope for this struggling branch.  It was testimony meeting and the testimonies were sweet and strong.  Even though their numbers are small these saints have faith.  As we were getting ready to leave Sister Hassler asked if Lyle had done the paperwork for the baby blessing, we were glad she remembered.  So this little boy who lives in a tiny area of Peru will have Lyle's name on his blessing certificate.  When we came out of church, we were surprised to see all the market people selling in front of the Church.  That was different.
 On our way back to Puno, I took these pictures.  The one above shows the low rock walls that are everywhere.

 If you look really closely, you can see flamingos in the water.  I have seen several flamingos in the Antiplano, I had no idea they lived here.
 Looking out at Lake Titicaca.  This lake is huge, This is where the floating islands are.  We didn't have time to tour but we will next time we come this way

We saw people everywhere working in their gardens.  They are small gardens like this and generally they harvest and sell it themselves in the cities.

When we arrived back in Puno we set up at the Stake Center and started working.  We were so busy with all the people that came that we had 5 computers going non-stop until late at night.  It was great because it was a rainy night with Carnavel going on in the background - a great reason not to go out to do family history.  There was also a miscommunication and the Elders didn't know until we arrived the day before that we were coming.  The Elders and Sisters were awesome.  They rounded up all the people they could for us and they helped the people enter in their information and helped me with translation.  We are going to have to return to Puno, there is still a lot of people asking for our help, and the missionaries are finding more people all the time.  We are trying to get the newly baptized ready to take names to the temple as soon as possible.  We have found that when that happens, they are strengthened and stay active.  I think it is because they receive help from the family members they have done the Temple work for.   Our work is to help the missionaries get their converts and reactivated member to the Temple to do work for their families.  We love working with the missionaries.

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