Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Crazy, Busy Three Days

Well, there are two things I told myself that I definitely did not want to lose here on the mission. And so guess what I lost?  Those two things - my camera and my work visa. That work visa took so much time and work to get. Arrgh!  I don't even know how it happened.  My little camera case that hangs around my neck has a zipper on top and the zipper was closed and there was no camera and I had checked it several times before we left and on our way to an appointment. Then on the way home I noticed it was gone. The appointment ended up being a no-show (with the people not the missionaries) and so I didn't even use the camera that night.  The visa went missing the same time too from a zippered pocket in another small bag that hangs around my neck. I have no idea how I lost them.

We bought that particular camera because it talks to the portable printer we have, and even though it didn't take the best pictures we knew we had to replace it with a similar one.  So here is a picture we took at a Market as we tried out the camera we were looking at buying.  In all of Cuzco we could only find about 15 different types of small point and shoot cameras and almost all of them were Cannons and they are all a lot more expensive than in the States.  I think this new one will not be as good as the last one and I was having a lot of problems with the last one.  It just doesn't take good pictures in low light.  So if the pictures in the blog seem worse, they probably are, but at least I can still post pictures for this blog and take pictures for our family history assignments.  Now I have to see what can be done about my visa.

Our First District Meeting

Lyle said that this weekend was the hardest three days he has ever had while serving in the Church. That includes his work as a Bishop.  We had a family history fair set up with the missionaries for Friday night August 12 which was crazy busy.  He had to give three different 20 minute talks in Spanish at the Adult Conference, Priesthood Session and General Meeting. With three languages in his head it gets crazy trying to give a talk from his heart in the right language.  In between the meetings he had a steady stream of Temple Recommend Interviews all in Spanish.  He lost his hearing aids about 6 weeks after we arrived and so hearing the voices of women is a real challenge. Sometimes he needs to explain the questions and that gets interesting too because the people here don't understand what some of the questions mean and Lyle tries to explain, but things like child-support are not understood by the people here.  They just tell them they love Jesus Christ and his Church and they just want to obey Him.  Isn't that beautiful?  They don't understand everything, but they do understand faith.  

To get to Abancay we hire a car, but if you only want to pay for two seats, you have to wait for other people to show up.  So we had to wait for about 45 minutes for someone to show.  I took these pictures while waiting.
Every district of the city has carved or cast statues that represent the area, this area has a Bobcat.  The mural painted on the wall behind the Bobcat is very pretty

I have tried to get a picture of this since I arrived and I finally had my camera ready at the right time.  This is guinea pig food.  You will see lots of little taxis in the morning caring a load of guinea pig food and they all look like this with the grass hanging out the back and on the top.
The woman in the picture below, is the woman who finally arrived to take one of the seats in the car. The driver tried to get us to pay for the last remaining seat in the back middle, but finally he just said we would go.  This is one of the drives with the winding switchback roads, so I was glad to have the empty middle seat by me.  Lyle takes the front passenger seat.  I don't like watching them drive so the back is just fine for me.

 The lady next to me looks like a business woman going on a business trip.  After awhile, she goes to sleep then wakes up asking for a "bolsa" (bag).  The driver opens the middle compartment between the two front seats.  She reaches in and grabs two bags and I am thinking, "we have just started and she already thinks she needs two bags, this is scarey".  She reaches into her purse and pulls out a whole roll of toilet paper and tears off about 40 squares.  I am getting nervous.  She lays the toilet paper and the bags on the seat between us and goes back to sleep.  Below is a picture of her sleeping with her legs braced against the drivers seat as the car sways back and forth on the switchbacks. Only a few minutes after I snap the picture she wakes up and grabs the bags, I quickly look out my window and roll it down a couple of inches thinking of anything else besides what is happening next to me, I didn't want to be sick too.  Finally, she feels better, ties a knot in the top of the two bags, puts them on the floor and goes back to sleep.  An hour and half later, she wakes up saying "bolsa!"  No one in front hears, I panic, push Lyle's elbow off the compartment where the bags are.  She grabs one and I just look out the window again, lowering it a couple of inches for fresh air and think about happy childhood memories, anything besides the three full bags on the floor of the car.

It was a long three and half hour trip.  The missionaries have to make the trip lots of times and a couple of them say they throw up every time.  One of the sister missionaries was here in the mission only three days when she had to make the trip and she had no idea she would get sick,  She threw up all over her dress at the first of the trip and had to sit there in a combi (van) full of people for the remaining 4 hours.  She can laugh about it now.

After that great ride here we got settled in our hotel, ate lunch and then went over to help the missionaries set up for our Family History Fair.  Here is a picture of us working.  We had another room with a computer and TV with videos and another computer behind me.  It was super busy and super fun.

 This sweet couple came to get an account and some family names to take to the Temple.  The branch is going in November and this couple will be sealed.  The faith of these people is incredible.  They save their money sometimes for years in order to go to the Temple.  We are not even sure how much they understand about the Temple, but they just say they want to follow Jesus and do what is asked of them.

This man has very light eyes, blue-green and very rare.

Here are our amazing Zone Leaders that set everything up for us.  We met Elder George and Elder Salazar when we first arrived and their time here is almost up. The time goes quickly and we hardly get to know the missionaries and then they are gone and new ones replace them.  It is a beautiful thing to see how this missionary work changes the lives of these missionaries.  We just love all of them and are so impressed with their selfless service as they truly build the Kingdom God here in Peru.

Of course, whenever I give them the job of taking pictures of people for their Mi Familia booklets, the missionaries find time to take goofy selfies for me to discover later.  They really are a lot of fun to be with, it isn't just all work.

On Saturday morning I took these pictures from our 5th floor hotel room.  This is what happens on all the roof tops of Peru.  The builders almost always leave rebar coming out of the tops of the buildings so that someday (maybe) they can put another floor on top.  It is the perfect place to make a clothes line.  Every time I come to Abancay I see this family doing laundry on the roof.  It must be a business they have because they spend hours there.  Makes me appreciate the washer and dryer I have in my apartment.  Most people here and around the world do laundry by hand and it takes hours.

This is a close up of the family doing laundry, and of course the children are there with them.  This little boy has what looks like a couple of toy rifles tucked into the back of his shirt.  He will just play on this roof under the watchful eye of his parents while they finish their work for the day.

 Our First District Meeting

In our free moments during the week before this meeting, Lyle and I worked on our talks.  It is so hard to put abstract ideas into another language and hope the Spirit will be felt at the same time.  Lyle had to prepare three talks, I had to prepare a 5 minute talk and my testimony.  The Saturday night adult session went really well.  I didn't have to talk after all - Whew!  The children were corralled in the church and church yard with babysitters while the adults attended the meeting.  It was wonderful to be with the Saints there in Abancay.  Before, after and between all our meetings Lyle conducted Temple Recommend Interviews.  

On Sunday morning Lyle spoke at the Priesthood meeting and continued doing interviews.  I arrived about 9:30 (our hotel is only a couple of blocks away so I could walk).  I sat up front with the other wives of the Mission Presidency.  I was shown the schedule and I was not on it.  So I just relaxed. There are two Church Buildings in Abancay and the chapel we were in was set up to send the proceedings to the other building.  Five minutes before the meeting, the electricity in our section of town went out and there was no telling when it would come back on.  We talked about different options while the members just waited patiently.  The children had prepared a song and they were on the front 3-4 rows.  An hour later it was decided to split up.  Two speakers went to the other building and two remained in our building and I was put on the schedule to speak.  The problem was without electricity how could anyone hear us?  I just bowed my head and prayed.  Several men were working on the problem, A generator was rented, but the cord didn't work so they were working on the cord. As soon as my prayer was over the microphone started to work and that was all we needed.  The men had figured out how to connect the cord for the generator.  We proceeded with the meeting.  

I spoke and everyone said they easily understood what I was saying and understood the principle I was teaching.  Wow,  another prayer answered.  Lyle told his dog and the old swimming pool parable.  It was perfect for the children sitting in front.  They had been sitting for almost two hours by the time he gave his talk and they were ready for a great story.  If you haven't heard Lyle's parable of the dog and the swimming pool it is a great parable about repentance and forgiveness and the gift of the atonement.  The children loved it and so did the adults.  He only made a few mistakes, like saying "piscina viejo"  (old swimming pool) which sounded like "vecino viejo" (old neighbor)  which is a very rude thing to say in Peru.  They honor their older people and you don't call them old, there is another word that is more respectful than the word "old",  There was a gasp in the audience and Lyle had no idea what he said wrong.  It was perfect because it woke everyone up and they soon figured out that he had not said what they thought he had.  He had included a few Italian words in the Adult session, but I think that the people are just so happy that we come here and try to teach them in their own language that they don't even notice our mistakes.  It was a wonderful experience for us to be there.

 I loved watching the children and thinking about how Jesus taught the Lamanite children in the book of Mormon.  They came up and sang a song.  One of the older girls played the piano with one finger.  She had just learned it the day before and was terrified.  She played really well and I was in tears when the song ended.  These children were so excited to sing to us.  They had been sitting for almost 2 and 1/2 hours by the time their turn came and they just jumped up and ran to the front when their turn finally came.  I have to pinch myself sometimes to see if I am dreaming.  I can't believe I am here with these wonderful Lamanite brothers and sisters in the Gospel, I just love it.

Even though we started an hour late, we still had to fill 2 hours.  I can't believe everyone stayed in their seats for three hours.  I think they were just excited to have us come all the way to their city to teach them.  Lyle said the Temple Recommend Interviews were great.  He loved seeing the faith of these people up close as they choose to obey and make the sacrifices to stay worthy of a temple recommend.  The full tithing some of them pay is five dollars a month.  They are poor as to things of the world, but not in spirit.  They are constantly teaching us what true discipleship means.

These beautiful girls insisted on taking a picture with us - the North American Missionary couple that has traveled all the way from Utah to hear their beautiful song.
We were able to ride home with the Mission President and his family.  After his two girls took long naps, we had fun singing with them and playing with them. Their grandparents are far away and our grand-kids are far away so it works out  perfectly for both of us.  Their girls are 7 and 5 and they have 180 big brothers, and a set of grandparent missionaries (us),  Their mom said the girls are loving it. One of their favorite things to do during meetings is draw pictures of the missionaries.  I can't wait to see our pictures.

This Last Picture is for my Daughter Lora Lee

I think I have seen only 2 real pianos in our mission, this is one of them and the children swarmed it after church.  Wouldn't you just love to teach these little boys how to really play?  


  1. We love your Blog!! We laughed and laughed about the sick woman and the power going out in Abancay!! It's comforting to know that nothing much has changed! The power went out on us at our first District conference in Abancay, we were in a huge theater and just Rich and I were there to do it all. We literally had to shout to give our talks.. ahh memories :) How we miss you and the people and the adventures! Lyle's cart to give out Books of Mormon is awesome! We are keeping plenty busy. We are serving as ordinance workers in the temple once a week which includes the two Spanish sessions. We're also members of the Spanish Branch and trying to help, it feels just like being back in Peru. The branch is really struggling. We are trying to come up with a plan, it's so frustrating. We love being with our children and grandchildren, but we're looking forward to our next mission adventure :) You are doing such an amazing work, enjoy every minute, it will be over all too soon. Abrazos grandes :)

  2. Every time we see a new post, it brings back a flood of memories. We had some of our most delightful and memorable mission experiences in Abancay! The Sandbergs served their all of their mission, and they are still loved by those wonderful members - I'm sure you have heard of them and the great work they did there. As you know, there is not a level place in the whole city, and the Sandbergs ran us up and down from top to bottom til we were nearly exhausted. Occasionally we could get them into a taxi to save our legs and lungs, but they were used to it, Hna S with her little short legs, and Elder S with his big long ones. Since cell reception is spotty in Abancay, I would sometimes have to get Elder Sandberg to stand out in the street holding my phone so that we could get a signal to work, which he would gladly do.

    We always stayed on the other side of the hotel (east side), so we had a good view of the mountains and valley - but it overlooked a chicken farm, and the roosters would always start crowing just before dawn. Actually it was always so pleasant in Abancay that we didn't mind being woken up early, just to enjoy the day. The Sunday power outages seem to be a regular occurence in that city, and would frequently interrupt the meetings, but somehow the members just seemed to shrug it off and get by without it.

    The twisty roads to Abancay are everything you describe. When we went, we would always rent the whole car, so it would be just the 2 of us plus the driver, so we had some control over the trip. I had new US $1 bills padded in 50, and I would tear off 10 of them and lay them on the dash, and tell the driver that would be his propina if he got us there safely - no speeding or cutting around blind corners. Once in a while I would have to reach up and tap them to remind him, but that technique always got us there safely. We did come back on the big bus once - not a combi, and that was OK. We did have a couple instances on the big bus (from Sicuani) where other passengers would get sick, and that was quite unpleasant - and that's not a bad road. On our trip to Quillabamba we rented a car/driver - I don't think Dawn could have made it on a bus, or if we had other people crowded in the car. The drive is beautiful - I would absolutely love to do that on my motorcycle - but 6 hours of twisties was right at Dawn's limit, even with a couple rest stops.

    We know and love Elders George and Salazar! The missionaries that we know are getting fewer, but we love to see pictures of them and see that they are still there and working hard. Being with the missionaries was one of our delights, and the experiences we had with them bring back such wonderful memories.

    Bad bummer about your camera and carnet. We held on to our items very closely, and were lucky that we didn't ever lose anything. Remember the pickpockets are pretty clever there! I brought backup cameras that we never did have to use. When we got our carnets, I made color photocopies of them, and laminated them on a card that I had typed on the back that these were copies, the originals were secure, and in an emergency, contact the Mission President, with his name and phone number. These would work for us most everywhere (Plaza Vea, historical sites), except that when we had to buy an airline or train ticket I would take the original. Hope that you can get a replacement without too much hassle.

  3. Well, Blogspot tells me that my post was more than 4,096 characters, so I have to split it . . . .

    You're just getting past the "cold" season there, right? I remember that July was the coldest, both in our apartment (hope the heaters are still working well), and when we traveled. I have a photo of Dawn in bed in a hotel room in Sicuani with her coat and gloves on, reading a book - with the heater we rented from the hotel for 5 Soles, plus the one that we traveled with. Then we go to Espinar, one of the highest places, a few months later, and it's shirtsleeve weather all day and night, so go figure.

    We can tell that you're really enjoying your mission experience and doing a great work. It is so great for us to follow your blog and see and read about what you're doing. Keep those posts coming! Much love to you!!