Friday, August 5, 2016

Flying Solo

When returned from our last trip, I came down with a very serious sore throat and cough.  The infection from my throat moved into my sinuses and then into the roots of my teeth.  I know, that sounds weird, but I couldn't even eat because my teeth hurt so much.  I found out that many people from this area had walking pneumonia at the same time.  I didn't dare go to the doctor and I surely didn't want to have teeth problems.  The Johnsons, who were here before us, said that to get your teeth fixed it is best to fly to Lima and use a United States trained dentist there.  After about 6 days without any improvement, I had Lyle give me a blessing.  Slowly, over the next week, I gradually got better and I am finally getting my strength back.  I am so grateful for the power of the Priesthood and my husband who shares that healing power with those who ask, not just me, but many others especially here on our mission.

While I was sick, Lyle went to do family history without me.  Here is a picture of a brother and sister that he visited.  Both have severe arthritis  and they are pretty much home bound.  Elder Poulsen and the missionaries had a really nice visit with them and were able to build their family tree.  They found some ordinance work for their ancestors and they will be sending the temple cards with Ward members because they can't go themselves.  These pictures were taken at their home.  I wished I could have been there. 

Lyle met with another person while I was sick, but finally I felt like I could go help him with the appointments below.  The first woman printed out the most ordinances we have ever seen here in Peru.  I can't remember exactly how many she had, but there were tears and rejoicing in finding so many names.  Her Ward is going to the Temple soon and there will be plenty of work to share.

 This young mother and her son are new converts.  We taught them about family history with the missionaries.  She has had such a hard life (like so many people here).  Her mother died when she was a baby and a few years later her father was murdered.  She had no where to go and no one to help her.  She had her son 10 years ago and she told me what a blessing he has been in her life.  He was great.  We asked him if he knew what the plan of Salvation was.  He explained it as well as any adult could.  He is so smart.  She was having some medical problems and Elder Poulsen and the younger Elders gave her a blessing.  I wish I could talk to her again to see how she is doing, but most of our appointments are only a one time visit.

The couple below have been making many changes in their lives as they work with the missionaries. We opened accounts for them and entered all the information we could.  As always, the people we work with think I can speak Spanish better than I can.  The woman was telling me all about her challenges and I just sat there and listened.  That happens all the time.  I am such a good listener, I just sit there and try to get the main idea of what they are saying and I just sit there and smile or act sad -whatever seems appropriate.  I never really know what they are telling me, but they seem happy to have been able to share with me.

A mother and her baby playing while the mother waits for someone to buy the few things she has laying on the blanket.

I pass this little boy every time we go from the main street to the mall.  He is always sitting here with a couple of bags of very hard beans to sell.  Today he was sitting on a couple of bricks, but usually it is a small blanket.  He never leaves that little space and I have no idea where his mother is.  It is really sad, I tried talking with him but he didn't answer me, so I just try to smile every time I pass.

Okay, here is why this blog is called "Flying Solo".  We have one phone that is not attached to the wall and it is the mission phone and can only be used here in Peru.  Anyway, it is expensive for most of the people here to use their phones.  When a call comes in they have to run to the phone store and put a couple of dollars on the service so they can call the person back.  Anyway, we try to use our phone whenever we can, especially on the very long calls (usually 20 minutes or more) to Family Search for specific information for the person we are working with.

The other night we let the person use our phone and they were on hold.  We had another appointment across town so we left.  We walked about a block when we realized we left our phone.  So we had to split up.  I had to get to the bus stop by myself and to the appointment across town while Lyle went back to retrieve the phone.   It was a dark corner I went to (I guess there was a better stop but I didn't remember that) and waited for my green and orange bus to arrive.  I kept repeating "la Salle" (which is the bus stop I needed to get off at) over and over again in my head.  I kept checking to make sure I had the right coins for my fare. Bus after bus stopped by, but they were not the one I was familiar with, finally the right bus came and I had to flag it down. I hopped on and said a little prayer.  You have to remember that there is no way to call each other and I had no idea if Lyle would be able to get in to get the phone back.  There are no doorbells and the place we left it had had a locked gate and we weren't sure if he could  even find the apartment again once he was inside.  Well, like all things that scare you, after you do it once and everything turns out all right, you are not afraid any more.  It all worked out fine, I got off at the right stop and walked the block to the church.  I started the appointment with the missionaries and their new convert.  Lyle showed up only fifteen minutes after I did and the appointment went really well.  I really think I could do it again now. It is important that I learn how to do things alone because Lyle needs to go out of town every once in awhile to do district work.  He left last weekend and I was able to get along just fine for the 2 days he was gone.

waiting for the bus at night

This is the bus we take most of the time and I know its route well enough to know where to get off and on.

Primary children practicing a song.  It was so beautiful listening to these beautiful songs in Spanish.

Lyle had the wonderful opportunity to release these two missionary twins that have just returned from their missions in the Dominican Republic.  The mom is on the right.  See how happy she is.  She said it just broke her heart to send both of them out at the same time, but as she prayed the Holy Ghost comforted her.  She asked in her prayer to please make the time go by fast and she said it really did go fast.  It was a wonderful experience for Lyle .
Lyle had to go to Andahuaylas to sign a bunch of Temple Recommends for a group that is going to the Temple this week.  He said it was a great experience.  The ride to Andahulyas is the longest and hardest.  The people were throwing up on the bus, no one wouid open a window, Lyle said he couldn't breath so he kept his nose by a crack in the window.  Luckily, he had a little 9 year old girl on the seat next to him.  He gave her his Ipad and she played with it for 3 hours then went to sleep.  She was so small that her body just kept sliding around in the seat at each hairpin turn the bus made.  Lyle tried to brace her with his leg, but at one time she had her head on the seat and body on the floor.  It was a long ride home, but he made it.

A few things to sell

I was glad to see the painter at work, he just can't stay on top of the graffiti that follows him as he works. 

heavy loads at the end of a market day

My pressure cooker kept blowing up so we went to the hardware part of the market to get a new ring.  This lady took our money and ran to another vendor and was gone at least 20 minutes, but she came back with the part and the change.  Talk about personal service.
Our apartment is just to left of this mall.

The above pictures are of the mall and the grocery store in the Mall that we shop at all the time now. Sometimes when I get tired of the dirt, graffiti and garbage that is everywhere else, I just walk over to the Mall for awhile.  This Mall is so busy during the weekends the traffic is backed up for blocks trying to get in to the parking lot and of course everyone has to honk.  We are getting used to the sound of honking, car alarms and dogs.

More Dog Pictures

Dog gangs just hanging out.

So these two dogs were not included in the gang above, do you it is because they are wearing sweaters?

Elder Poulsen's Book of Mormon Project

Elder Poulsen has set a goal to give away a thousand Book of Mormons before the end of our mission. He buys cases of books and takes them to different locations in town.  Lyle does this during the mornings when we don't have other responsibilities. Our family history appointments are usually in the late afternoons and evenings, because the missionaries study in the mornings. I do family history and study Spanish during this time.  Our goal with family history is 12,000 names, and we have close to 10,000 right now.

Elder Poulsen made this portable stand out of a garbage can with the wheels on it.  He has a vinyl cover he had printed and made to fit the over the can.  He can fit a folding chair, a box of books and whatever other supplies he needs in the can.  Sometimes he can wheel it to the location, other times he has to get a station wagon taxi to take him.  For every book he gives out he gets a phone number, name and address so the missionaries can follow up.  He has really enjoyed talking about the book with everyone.  He has had a lot of children come and ask for a book, but then there is no way for the missionaries to contact them and the mom's aren't around.  A couple of children have just hung around with him listening to him talk to the people about the Gospel.  The demand has been great and sometimes he has had to turn people away which is really sad.  Sometimes kind people give him something to drink or eat.  The lady in the last picture gave him a nice fruit drink.  The people here love to openly talk about Jesus Christ and about their love for Him.

In the sun it is hot, in the shade it is cold, here Lyle is talking about it with the woman on the sidewalk.
Kind people give Lyle drinks and food, here is one of them.


  1. Hola Poulsens! The adventures just piling on, don't they? It is hard to realize we have been home for 7 months, we really feel like civilians now. Every time we see a new post, it nearly chokes us up with the feelings and emotions we experienced while we were there. We see familiar faces (missionaries and members) less frequently now, as the missionaries are changing, and you are meeting so many new people. Some things don't change in Cusco though, like car alarms and dogs. Elder Poulsen is so creative and bold with his Libro de Mormon stand. Even if we could have spoken fluently, I don't know if we could have done that. We hope that your health is good throughout your mission. Yes, we did go to Lima to an American dentist rather than let the locals in my mouth. However, if I did want my teeth outlined in silver, Cusco or Puno would be the place I would go.

    It is surprising - or maybe not - that those who have so little will give away or share what they do have just to be kind. We have a lovely Hermana in Ollantaytambo run out and spend what I'm sure was her last few Soles just to buy some bananas for pancakes for us. Sounds like your telecoms are not the best - I hope they are adequate for you to get your work done. Is the dongle still working? It was more reliable for us than the phone but even then the coverage was sometimes spotty. However, when it works out in the altiplano or down in the jungle, and you're communicating real-time with the FamilySearch servers back in SLC, it's pretty impressive.

    We think of you frequently, and wish you more success in your service.

  2. Lyle and Nancy,
    Saw Loralee at church today. She looked really good. She kind of caught me up on her life. I can't believe how long it's been since we've seen each other. In fact, when she said she was living here, I thought she must be Marianne (which puzzled me, because I had thought she was Loralee when I first saw her.) Her baby is beautiful and Janet Egbert and I really enjoyed playing with her during RS. (I was tending my grandson, so Janet and I ended up in the Mothers' Louunge together with the babies.) So fun for us. We talked of you and Lyle and how you are missed, and also how much I enjoy this blog. So sorry you were crummy, but hope you're still feeling better. Proud of you for learning to navigate yourself around!

  3. Jana and I have really enjoyed following your blog. We felt so fortunate to get to know you in the MTC. It is so interesting to me how different each couple's mission experiences are. We follow the Zmolek's that we met in the MTC who are in the Czeck Republic as well as a couple serving in Kenya, Africa and Australia and a granddaughter in Norway. It is so fun to read about all the experiences. Your experiences are so very unique as well. WE love reading about them. Thanks for sharing with us. Elder & Sister Neilson (Tad & JANA)

  4. Jana and I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for the posts