Elder Poulsen has been travelling alone the past 2 weekends. He is trying to fix some of the problems in the Districts. It has been very challenging. There are no hotels in these areas and so he takes a sleeping bag and blankets in his suitcase and sleeps in the chapels (which are some of the best buildings in town) and are clean. Most restaurants are just small places that have "menu del dia" for 4 soles which is about $1.25 for soup, entree and drink and dessert. These are small restaurants with a couple of tables and a small home-style kitchen and a couple of people running it and cooking. The cleanliness is unknown. The soup is always homemade with grains, broth and a few vegetables, and if you are lucky you may get a small piece of meat and usually a boiled potato and if you are really lucky you will find two or three lima beans. The soup is good, but the entree is potato, yucca roots, rice and a small piece of meat with a sauce. It is not usually that great. The dessert can be a piece of fruit or pudding. I think we have built up some immunity because he hasn't gotten sick yet, or he is just being blessed.
It has been hard work and his trips have not been very successful. There are always a handful of incredibly faithful women and a few priesthood holders that are burned out with trying to run a branch with so little support. For example, in one area there are 400 members and maybe 20 show up. Elder Poulsen or President Poulsen (which is what he is when he supervises these areas) needs to go and interview men to see who should be called as Branch Presidents and the only ones who help line up the interviews are the missionaries. He has to go the people's houses to interview and the homes are so hard to find and you just hope they are there because it is expensive for the people to use a phone so they don't answer their phones and there are no addresses and you have to enter a gate before you can find the house, so you bang on the door of the gate and hope someone will hear you and let you in. Then you find the house or apartment even though there is no address and if there is it doesn't make sense, you ask anyone you can find to give you directions. Hopefully they are home and things can proceed from there.
He went to a home the other night and the wife was wonderful and they had this really nice, very clean house with all the beautiful Mormon art on the walls. He spoke to the woman and she said her husband would be home soon. That was Saturday night and the wife said he would be there at church on Sunday, in the meantime he had talked to the present Branch President and told them they would be released that day. The man whom President Poulsen wanted to interview never did show up and so the calling could not be extended and he came home so disappointed and will have to return for another 3 day adventure in calling a Branch President for that particular area (there is another area with just as great of need). The Mission President said to just find someone with a willing heart. There is a 26 year-old return missionary with a willing-heart but no wife (even though he wishes he had one). Maybe if he could work as a counselor under someone else he could rise to the occasion. Oh well, we will keep praying for miracles and more people with willing hearts.
In the meantime, I have been alone for 3-4 days at a time. I love going to Church on Sunday though I don't understand everything that is being said, but I can feel the love that is there. Everyone treats me with so much kindness. The ward I go to here in Cuzco is a fully functioning, wonderful ward. The talks, the lessons and the activities are wonderful. My internet is super slow again so I haven't been able to do familysearch which is something I enjoy while Lyle is gone. Instead I wandered over to the Mall to see what is going on there. Below are some pictures I took.
|One neighborhood next to us has figured out how to solve the dog/garbage problem with these raised cages in their front yards. The garbageman can just pick it up here instead of on the ground where the dogs scatter it everywhere.|
|There was a big dance at the Mall for the young kids that I watched for awhile. Dancing is a huge part of the Culture here.|
|Lyle and I thought this little purple van was so cute.|
Having fun with the Relief Society Sisters in my Ward
We had a Relief Society activity that I went to while Lyle was gone. We are usually gone when these come up so I was happy to finally join them. We are in the church kitchen making a Tarta. Which was delicious. Below are some pictures of the activity. While this group was in the Kitchen, other sisters were in other rooms making crafts. There are pictures of those crafts below.
|The sister on the right was telling jokes while we were waiting for the Tarta to cook. Everyone was laughing like crazy and the women next to me had her tablet and was using google translate to translate for me so I could be part of the fun.|
|The finished apple Tarta.|
|The finished Crafts- bottles decorated with silicon, little wooden Home Evening assignment charts. Christmas decorations made of yarn and sparkle glue. a cookie jar with a frosted type finish and modge-podge Christmas Card Santa on the side.|
|The sisters were so proud of their work they sat it on the table and put it in a nice arrangement for me to take pictures of it.|
|Everyone was hands on during the mixing of the Tarta, and of course the little girls are wanting to be part of the fun too.|
|A mother teaching her daughter how to separate eggs.|
|Zone Conference with the Missionaries. Here are the sisters waiting for birthday cake.|
|Some of our Elders|
|Serving Birthday Cake|
|At Zone Conference we celebrated the 21 birthdays for the month of October. Here are the cakes and the birthday missionaries. We sang in both languages.|
|Some of the youth in our Ward playing volleyball. The Church put basketball courts with the standard hoops in all the Churches here, but I have never seen that played. Instead the courts are used for Volleyball and Soccer.|
|The building that is going in across the street is at a dead stand-still and has been for months. These three dogs have moved in though and seem to be enjoying the view from their balcony.|
|Everyday this woman comes out of her house to enjoy the sun. She is just across the street from our apartment.|
|I have no idea how old she is but she can hardly walk, as you can see she has a crutch. I see her out of the window of my office and wonder about her life as I wonder about all the lives of the people here in Peru.|