The Bird of Paradise Strikes Again!

Observation: the Peruvian men seldom wear facial hair, which has been a recent fad in the US; it has also been a tradition for as long as I can remember for men from Mexico to wear a moustache.

For Family Home Evening (FHE)[i] Monday, we met with about 10 other couples at the Area offices, where the Henrie’s (from Albuquerque)[ii] shared their experiences serving as humanitarian missionaries. One project they are working on is coordinating the donation of over 1100 wheelchairs to those crippled by various diseases. Some are victims of polio and are my age; it took a while for the vaccine to reach the remote areas of the country at the time when I was being vaccinated as a child. Another project was helping with the cleanup efforts after the mudslides and flooding in Peru a couple of months ago. Because of those efforts, the president of Peru[iii] arranged for a video call to President Henry B. Eyring,[iv] of the First Presidency, to personally thank the Church for its cleanup efforts. Some of the local Church leaders were also present for this call. Another project was drilling wells in remote villages in Peru. The village is required to have a local council that makes decisions about how to repair and maintain the system and distribute the water. Everyone is required to purchase their water, with fees determined by the village council. It was amazing to see the end results of the generosity of individual Church members who donated often just a few dollars here and there to the Humanitarian Aid Fund.[v] It was also encouraging to see the efforts of the Church leadership to help people with their needs, but in a way that is sustainable and does not create chronic dependence. For example, rather than just “playing Santa Claus” and giving wheelchairs to those in need, they worked with local organizations who would make sure the chairs fit the patient, that the patients know how to use them properly and that there were people trained to repair and maintain the chairs over the long haul.

After FHE, we had taco salad and visited. I was struck (yet again) with the thought, “These are some REALLY good people!” I count it a privilege to be among such good people!

On Tuesday, we helped the full-time missionaries teach a lady in the chapel where we meet. She is in her mid-30’s and is a very sweet single mother with four sons. She understands things quickly and has a huge amount of faith. The next day, the missionaries asked me if I would like to baptize her! She was in favor of that, so I said, “Of course!” We invited them to have lessons at our house on Thursday and Friday; her baptism was yesterday. Three other people (from another ward) were also baptized. The water was cold, but the service was very uplifting.

 

Carter, right before the baptism, with Rosie, her two sons and a girlfriend

 

Afterward, a man in his 60s sat down by Faye and me and said he could tell that we had a special relationship with one another. When we were in the Mission Training Center (MTC)[vi] in Provo, Utah, that’s something one of our teachers pointed out: that, as senior missionaries, we may be one of the few examples of a stable marriage that the members, investigators and even missionaries will have seen. That was humbling to think of, especially as I acknowledge my weaknesses as a husband. It was humbling again to have someone here in Peru mention that. This Peruvian man was baptized in May 1975, just a month or two before my brother, Young, completed his mission; he didn’t know Young, though.

As we were walking home from the lesson with the investigator Tuesday, all three of us felt something wet land on us (I felt it on my right shoulder; Faye’s was on her foot). At the same instant, I saw white drops appear on the sidewalk where we were. Yep! We looked up and saw a bird flying overhead that had just pooped on us! “Thanks, buddy, for the friendly welcome to Peru!” For some reason, it reminded me of a silly song I used to sing as a young teen, “May the bird of paradise fly up your nose! May an elephant caress you with his toes…(I don’t remember the rest of it).”

 

On Wednesday, I trained a registered nurse (RN)/sister missionary in the MTC here in Lima. She will go to another city in Peru when she leaves the MTC. There is another RN/sister missionary in Bolivia that I will train via phone conference starting this week. They will both be great assets to the missionaries and mission presidents (and wives) there. I look forward to working with them.

I decided to take some of my white shirts to a cleaning place to have them pressed; they did an awesome job! It’s amazing how much better a small thing like that makes me feel; last Sunday I wore a wrinkled shirt and I felt grumpy. Faye is going to try something different to see if the shirts will come out of the dryer unwrinkled…so I don’t have to take them to be pressed. I could iron them myself, but I just didn’t feel like it last week.

On Thursday, a young American couple who have lived in Peru for 10 years took another missionary and me (and our wives) shopping to a place called Gamarra[vii] to get fitted for custom suits. It was quite congested, dirty and smelly. It reminded me of Diagon Alley[viii] in some places. We stayed close together and stayed vigilant because it’s apparently a place where thieves look for unsuspecting targets. It was quite an adventure! I should have the suit in about 10 days.

After shopping we ate lunch at an Italian restaurant across the street from the Area offices. It was excellent!

On Friday, we met with the Lima Temple President Gillespie[ix], who asked me to help in the temple, mainly to help when there are English-speakers who need help. Afterward, we walked on the temple grounds. We heard some noisy birds in a nearby pecan tree (I was surprised to find one in Peru, but I’m pretty sure it was pecan): there were about a dozen parrots there, noisily fighting over the pecans! While we were there on the lawn, a man approached us; we thought he might tell us to get off the grass. Turns out he was visiting from Brazil and just wanted to chat with us. He knew Elder Godoy,[x] who is also from Brazil. We had a nice, brief visit, partly in English, partly in Spanish.

After that, we saw a woman with her 15-month-old son, trying to take selfies while she held him. Faye felt like she should ask if she could help take their picture, which she did. We chatted with her and she told us she was there (partly) because her husband has become disaffected with the Church: he has read some stuff on the internet about the Book of Mormon.[xi] She wanted to know what she could do to help him. I hope what I said was helpful: “Sister, he will need to make his own choices. However, you can love him and you can keep your covenants.[xii] Those are the best things you can do to help him.” I told her we would pray for both of them. She seems like a very good woman who took her concerns to the right place: the temple…in a spirit of prayer[xiii] and fasting.[xiv]

We were going to take some bus tours yesterday, but I had to make some phone calls and send emails about missionaries with various health problems. I spoke with several specialists in the US: a urologist, a psychiatrist, a gynecologist, an endocrinologist, and a gastroenterologist. They were all very helpful. I also took a luscious hour-long nap! Nice!

Today’s meetings were nice. For some reason, I have been feeling a little melancholic over Ashton. As I was reading the scriptures this morning and during a talk in Sacrament Meeting[xv] and the Sunday School lesson, I had some thoughts and feelings I’d like to share:

  • Mosiah 24:13-16[xvi] “And…the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me [as they covenanted to bear one another’s burdens in Mosiah 18:8-10[xvii], the Lord was another party to the covenant and promised to ease their own burdens] and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And…the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And…so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.” My take-home message: As Faye and I serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength here in Peru, I have faith that the Lord will (and has greatly already) ease the grief I have felt from Ashton’s death.
  • Moses 7:39[xviii] “And that which I have chosen [Christ] hath pled before my face…” What comfort it gives me to know that Christ is and will be my (and Ashton’s) Advocate with the Father. There is no one else I would rather have as my (and Ashton’s) “lawyer” in the Divine Courts.
  • John 12:24[xix] “…Except a [grain] of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Elder Holland taught about this when he was here in January: God specializes in “broken” things: the clouds are broken to release rain; the ground is broken to plant a seed; a seed is broken so a plant can grow; wheat is broken to make flour; bread is broken so we can partake of the sacrament. My heart is broken to bring me to my Savior’s Healing Hand. It’s excruciating at times, but I’m so grateful that there is One to whom I can turn for healing. The Sunday School lesson was on the Plan of Salvation. One question the teacher asked was, “What does the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation do for you?” I thought to myself what an anchor the Plan of Salvation is: it brings me inexplicable comfort during grief. It provides an unshakable rock and foundation upon which I can build my life, hopes and dreams during the storms and turbulent times of life. It is an iron rod to which I can hold fast. I can’t imagine my life without Christ’s Atonement, which makes possible the Father’s Plan of Salvation.
  • Isaiah 61:1[xx] “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Again, what comfort to know that Christ binds up my broken heart. I don’t know exactly how Ashton has or will be judged, but I take comfort in knowing that he will be judged by the Only Perfect Judge, who is full of Mercy and Longsuffering and Perfect Love. He is Ashton’s Creator; He knows Ashton’s heart and mind. I trust Him. I am filled with gratitude and tears with these thoughts. Thanks for letting me share them with you.

Written by Carter

[i] https://www.lds.org/topics/family-home-evening?lang=eng&old=true

[ii] http://henries-peruvian-mission.blogspot.pe/2017/

[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Peru

[iv] https://www.lds.org/church/leader/henry-b-eyring?lang=eng

[v] https://www.lds.org/topics/humanitarian-service?lang=eng&old=true

[vi] https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/missionary-training-centers?lang=eng

[vii] http://limacitykings.com/gamarra-garment-district-la-victoria/

[viii] http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Diagon_Alley

[ix] https://www.lds.org/church/news/new-temple-presidents-called-to-serve-in-nauvoo-memphis-lima-and-more?lang=eng

[x] http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/elder-carlos-a-godoy

[xi] https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon?lang=eng

[xii] https://www.lds.org/topics/covenant?lang=eng

[xiii] https://www.lds.org/topics/prayer?lang=eng

[xiv] https://www.lds.org/topics/fasting-and-fast-offerings?lang=eng

[xv] https://www.lds.org/topics/sacrament?lang=eng

[xvi] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/24?lang=eng

[xvii] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/18?lang=eng

[xviii] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/moses/7?lang=eng

[xix] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/12?lang=eng

[xx] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/61?lang=eng

What Is a Huaca?!

Another observation about the Southern Hemisphere: I was puzzled why the sun was shining in the north window in our kitchen. Then I realized that shadows fall to the south in the Southern Hemisphere! Cool!

(I wrote this May 14, but didn’t get around to posting until this week). This week, I helped missionaries with rashes, menstrual problems, depression, diarrhea, sprained joints and fainting…among other things. I commented to Faye: “Well, this is why I’m here…to help these missionaries avoid illness and to get better as quickly as possible!” I know this type of work isn’t for most people, but I really enjoy it. It has been very rewarding.

For Family Home Evening,[i] we started memorizing “The Living Christ.”[ii] I believe with all my heart every word in that document. Someone asked me yesterday, “Do you believe everything your church teaches?” I thought for a few seconds and then answered, “Yes, I do.” What a comfort it is to know that this Church is led by a prophet who receives revelation from God![iii] We also had a nice discussion about why Mormons don’t drink beer, coffee and tea; why we don’t smoke. We talked about what a great gift and creation our bodies are and what a privilege it is to care for them as God has commanded us to do. He commented that our practices require a lot of sacrifice. I responded that, I guess it does to some extent, but, on the other hand, how liberating it is to not have to worry about succumbing to alcoholism or to the harmful effects of smoking.

Wednesday afternoon, the other area physician and I met with Elder Godoy[iv] to discuss the medical needs of the missionaries in the Area. We meet monthly; it’s nice to know that we have the support we need to provide the care these missionaries. He said he considers us to be part of the Area Staff! Cool!

The Area office building is on some very beautiful grounds that are very well-kept. There’s a little walking path that winds its way through the grounds. Faye and I had been talking about walking on it for several days. We decided to do that Thursday after lunch. As we were coming back toward the building, we saw Pres. John Boswell[v] just outside the property gate. We then heard someone crying very loudly, so we decided to walk to where he was. He had his phone to his ear and was calling me at that very moment! A lady who looked about 60+ had fallen and broken both the bones just above the wrist in her right arm! She was quite distraught. Pres. Boswell told her that I was a physician and she settled down somewhat. I stabilized the broken bones with my hand and forearm as I talked to her. There was some discussion about how to get her to the hospital. Someone was leaving the Area complex at that time, and they volunteered to take her to the hospital. Today, we asked a woman who was in that vehicle that day what the outcome was: it sounds like they aligned the broken bones and put her into a cast. Was it a coincidence that Faye and I were outside the building exactly when that lady needed us? I don’t think so. It was humbling to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to bring a little comfort to one of His children.

Wednesday evening, we had dinner with another couple at Don Tito’s, which is probably my favorite Lima restaurant so far. Amazing food!

Thursday afternoon, we had our weekly call with the representative from Aetna who helps the Church manage the financial aspect of healthcare for the missionaries in our Area. She is a good Christian who is very helpful.

Thursday evening, Faye went shopping while I went for a walk to a nearby huaca (kind of like a pyramid, but made from adobe bricks)[vi]. Their ingenuity is amazing!

Friday evening, we got together with some other senior missionaries and played a simplified version of the dice game Bunco. It was fun to visit with some very good people.

Saturday morning, we went to Miraflores, a nice, historic part of Lima. We walked around Kennedy Park[vii] there, then met a very nice Peruvian friend of my brother, Young. While he treated us to lunch at Haiti Restaurant, he asked who the “chief” was over all the missionaries in Peru; we told him it was a man named Carlos Godoy, who is from Brazil. He then took us to a very nice mall called Larcomar,[viii] right on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As we walked around the mall, we just “happened” to bump into Elder Godoy! We introduced him and Elder Godoy to one another. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

 

Juan Yabar 1

 

Juan Yabar and me near Larcomar

 

We had a little treat there, then took a “combi” (small bus) back to Kennedy Park. Then we walked to an Indian Market, where Faye shopped, while our new friend and I visited before he had to get back home.

 

Carter & Faye on a “combi”

 

Not enough room to stand up straight on a “combi”!

 

Then Faye and I walked to Huaca Pucllana,[ix] about 6 blocks away. It’s amazing that a structure several thousand years old is right in the middle of modern-day Lima! We had a nice meal at a nearby restaurant called La Bodega de la Trattoria.

 

Huaca Pucllana with Lima buildings in background

 

We then took a cab ride home with a very nice driver. Since the next day (today) would be Mothers’ Day, I asked him if he was going to do something nice for his wife. He said he was a widower: his wife died 10 years ago from a blood clot to her lungs. We had already talked about Ashton’s death. He had some Mormon neighbors who had given him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he had read some of it. We talked about the potential for marriages to continue beyond the grave, rather than being “till death do us part.” I shared what a comfort it was for me to know that Ashton will be our son throughout the eternities.[x] I asked if he’d like to know more and he said yes; I will arrange for the missionaries to stop by.

That evening, Sister Moore[xi] from the Lima Mission Training Center asked me to check on some sick missionaries. I’m glad to be so close so I can try to help these missionaries get well quickly.

We had some nice talks on various topics in Sacrament Meeting today. Sunday School lesson was on Temples.[xii] The teacher also gave a nice tribute to his mother: she would sometimes eat very little (or nothing at all) so her family could eat as much as they wanted. Priesthood lesson was on Pres. Hinckley’s teachings on Testimonies.[xiii] In the afternoon, Faye and I taught a class (in English) about “The 10 Commandments of Missionary Health.” I thought it went well. There were only two elders in the group: one has relatives from Tucson; Faye went to Eastern Arizona College with someone with the same last name…probably from the same family! The other elder is from New Zealand and knows one of Ashton’s missionary companions when they served together in Fiji! Small world!

This afternoon, we had a nice dinner and visit with President and Sister Boswell and their daughter in their home. It was so great to get caught up with their wonderful family! What great folks they are! They will finish their mission in July and head home to the US.

Written by Carter

 

 

[i] https://www.lds.org/topics/family-home-evening/purpose?lang=eng&old=true

[ii] http://jesuschrist.lds.org/testimonies-of-him/articles/the-living-christ-the-testimony-of-the-apostles-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng&_r=1

[iii] https://www.lds.org/topics/prophets?lang=eng

[iv] https://www.lds.org/church/leader/carlos-a-godoy?lang=eng

[v] http://ashtonslegacy.com/it-was-great-to-be-with-venezolanos-again/

[vi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaca

[vii] https://www.google.com.pe/search?q=kennedy+park+lima+map&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa

=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPnMGU2fDTAhWEJiYKHeiHB-oQsAQIPg&biw=1360&bih=638

[viii] https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g294316-d596436-Reviews-Shopping_Center_Larcomar_Centro_Comercial_Larcomar-Lima_Lima_Region.html

[ix] https://www.google.com.pe/search?q=huaca+pucllana&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikj4Pn2_DTAhUBbiYKHQaTDOAQsAQIYg&biw=1360&bih=638

[x] https://www.lds.org/topics/families?lang=eng

[xi] https://www.lds.org/church/news/church-announces-eight-new-mtc-presidents-for-january-2016?lang=eng

[xii] https://www.lds.org/topics/temples?lang=eng

[xiii] https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-gordon-b-hinckley/chapter-9-the-precious-gift-of-testimony?lang=eng

One Month In Lima

We have been here for a month now. I am getting used to some things, like the message I get in Spanish when I check my voice mail. I know what that says and I know what buttons to push to listen to or delete a message. I’m really good at that now. When I first got my phone plan from Claro, I started getting messages from them and it was all in Spanish! At first I laughed!! How can I ever figure out what their messages say! Again, Google Translate is a big help and so is Carter.

My  youngest son, Jacob, said that a mission is full of awkward moments. Well, I had an awkward moment last night. We attended a baptism that started out with everyone in the chapel. A  few minutes before it started, the guy in charge asked me to lead the music. I can lead music in Spanish just like my mother does on her missioin in San Diego! I’m good at that! My 2 years spent  in the Spanish branch in Willcox prepared me for this very thing. He told me the page number, slowly, in Spanish. I wanted to hug him! I heard it clearly the first time. It was “Help Me Teach With Inspiration.” I’ve never sung that one at a baptism before, but I’m in Peru and maybe that’s what they sing here. He gave me a hymnbook and I was sitting up on the stand. Right before we were supposed to sing,  I realized that there was no one to play the piano, so when it was time to sing, I went over to the piano to play the opening note. I pushed on the F key and no sound. It was an electronic piano not turned on. Ok…. that didn’t work.  I went back up to start the song and, thank goodness, the missionary sitting on the front row whispered loudly, “We just count, Uno, Dos, Tres and start singing.” Ok… I can do that. In a split second, I realized no one had hymnbooks. But what could I do about it now. Who is going to know, “Help Me Teach With Inspiration” from memory? (There aren’t any hymnbooks in the chapel. They post the words to the hymns in the program for Sacrament meeting and some people use their phones to sing from.) Meanwhile, everyone is waiting to start the song…waiting on me! I said, “Uno, Dos, Tres” very confidently, I can count to three in Spanish really well, and I started singing. At first I was singing a solo with everyone watching. I saw some get out their phones to find the hymn. Eventually there were some singing. but most were humming or just watching me. Carter said he was humming. Thank goodness it was a short hymn. That was the awkward moment!

Then…. during the program in the chapel, there was a little boy sitting on the stand by his father. He was sitting 2 seats down from me with the seat between us empty. He was really cute and a couldn’t help looking at him.  He kept looking at me too. You know those woven Peruvian hats with the tassels hanging down on either side? He was wearing one of those, only it was a Captain America hat with ears on it. So cute! He was about 3 or  4 years old. I would smile at him and he would hide his face. Then he would look at me again, I would smile, and he would hide. After a while he held his fist up with a mean look on his face. I smiled and gave him the thumbs up sign. Then he growled at me. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up. He growled again and I gave him a scared look. He loved that and smiled real big! All this was happening up on the stand. I decided that we weren’t being very reverent so I tried not to look at him for the rest of the program. He tried to do things to get my attention but eventually he gave up. It was hard not to look at him.

I’ve been looking for the beautiful things around me here, taking pictures of what I find. My phone is full of pictures of flowers I see on my walk to work, and hanging from the tops of the apartments of the little sidewalk down Aruba, the road we live on. I want to post all of them. On the street above us there are Jasmine vines growing above the sidewalks. They smell heavenly! I pick a flower or two every time I walk by. The veggies that have just been washed, drying in the dish drainer are so colorful. Of course, the color is not as vibrant on these pictures as in real life, but here are some of my favorites:

 

 

We walk under these flowers every day on our way to work.

 

A beautiful flower on the temple grounds

 

Freshly washed veggies in our dish drainer

 

 

Jasmine blossoms on my kitchen counter.

 

I have to say though….. the most beautiful “things” around me are the people! Here are a few of them.

 

 

The Ojeda family, dropping their daughter off at the mission training center. Every 3rd Wednesday is when we get new missionaries at the MTC.

 

This is the piano player for our sacrament meeting, on the left, entering the MTC.  We miss him, but the MTC now has an amazing accompanist.

 

Carter got to baptize Rosie. Elder Hidalgo, next to Carter, is from Mesa, Arizona. Carter will be writing about Rosie.

Written by Faye

 

Every Day Is A New Adventure…in Peru

A friend gave me this mug and I have to say that every day IS a new adventure here! I am a learning new things, going new places, and learning new Spanish words every day.

Last Saturday a friend took me to an organic market. I got some really good chocolate, honey and some fruits and vegetables.

Carter heading home from work. On a typical day we go in to our office at about 8:30 and we leave between 4-5:00

On our way to Karlita’s to get an empanada de carne for dinner we met Mr. Venezuela. He would have talked to us all evening if we let him. See my new Peruvian purse?

Carter, eating his empanada with lime, onions and aji sauce. They were good!

My title, when I login to the church’s Missionary Online Recommendation System.

Carter at work in our office. My computer is to the left of him, just under the picture. We  were using our laptops for a while until they got our computers up and running. This is what I do: When a missionary application is sent in from any stake president’s office in our area, it comes to our office first.  I look through the application to be sure it is filled out correctly. I check to see if they have any medical issues that the doctors need to be aware of. If there are no problems I sign them off and send the application on to the area secretary. Many of the applications have no problems. If there are some medical issues, I send the application over to Carter. I also help the translator do some translating of applications from Spanish to English, using Google Translate if needed, making sure the wording is correct in English for when Salt Lake receives the application. Google Translate works really well most of the time.  Carter helps me with the translation of the medical sections.  Monday is the biggest day for receiving applications. The most we have received in one day so far since I’ve been here is 20.

We got to go to the Lima Peru Temple on Tuesday. Tiny, but beautiful and peaceful. We took a taxi there and walked back home. It was about a 20 minute walk.

The Food in Peru Is Amazing!

Something I have observed about most of the workers I have seen in Peru: they work! When I see a group of workers in the U.S., I’m sorry to say that I often see one or two working, with the other standing around and watching. I have seen very little of that here!

Faye told you about our trip to the old cemetery in Lima Monday, which was Labor Day for them. After the “field trip,” we went to a very nice mall, where Faye and another senior missionary lady helped me pick out some casual shirts to wear after regular missionary hours. I’m glad they like doing that; I confess that I don’t. I joked with the clerk there that I’m so much trouble that it takes two women to dress me!

On Tuesday morning, we attended a devotional with the area presidency, Carlos Godoy, Enrique Falabella and Hugo Montoya.[i] Later that day, they met with us to get to know us and welcome us to the mission. Among other things, we talked about ways that Faye can serve outside of the medical things she is helping me with. I felt loved by the Lord through them; that was a sweet and tender experience.

On Thursday, several people helped Faye feel special for her birthday. After work, we went with two other couples to a restaurant[ii] that served hamburgers, french fries and onion rings. It was quite good, especially with the Peruvian aji and rocotto sauces on them!

On Friday, I had a mild case of “Montezuma’s Revenge” that I’m not sure how I got; I thought I was being very careful. Things slowed down with some Imodium…thankfully…because the next day I had to fly to Cali, Colombia, for a one-day mission visit before returning to Lima. The cab picked me up at 7:30 AM for a 10:25 flight. The Peru women’s volleyball team was going through security at the same time as me; they were going to Costa Rica; several of them were taller than me! The flight to Cali lasted 3 hours. I watched “Puss in Boots” during the flight…a whimsical, fun movie[iii]. Cali is in a huge valley where they raise a lot of sugar cane…and harvest it by hand using machetes! There are a lot of African descendants there, from previous slavery. When I flew home, the Cali soccer team was also on the flight; many of the players were of African descent. They must be locally famous; some passengers were taking videos and pictures of them on the plane! While in Cali, I thought of my sister, Michelle, who served her mission there in about 1986.

Cali Mission President and Sister Pricoli (from Uruguay) picked me up at the airport and took me to lunch at a Crepes and Waffles[iv] restaurant, where I had a Thai crepe and a drink with mango, pineapple and passion fruit. Yummy!

I almost was not allowed to board the plane to return home from Cali: they wanted some proof that I had a residence in Lima or that I was a missionary. I didn’t have anything for the former, but have a card signed by Pres. Monson certifying that I am a missionary. I gave that to the ticket agent and she went somewhere to see if that would work. After 5-10 minutes, she came back and said that qualified! Whew! I’m thankful that I decided to put that in my wallet last week! I had no idea I would need it for this! It’s interesting to see how the Lord guides people in seemingly insignificant (at the time) actions…that turn out to be significant later!

Missionary Certificate

One glitch as I returned to the Lima airport: the immigrations official asked how long I would stay in Peru. I said “18 months.” They said, “We don’t grant 18-month visas.” We went back and forth. I told them that I had gone to immigration last week and they said my Peruvian visa would be here this week. She asked why I didn’t say that earlier. I didn’t say this, but she didn’t ask me. I need to find out what they are looking for so I say the right thing without a bunch of hassle.

My taxi ride got me back home at 10:15 and I finally got to bed at about 10:45 AP (“after pumpkin”…Faye teases me that I turn into a pumpkin after 9 pm!). It was a whirlwind day!

I was very impressed with Fast[v] and Testimony[vi] Meeting today: I thought several times, “These people know what a testimony is! ‘A brief, heartfelt expression of belief and conviction.'” Sunday School lesson was on Tithing.[vii] Priesthood[viii] lesson was on President Gordon B. Hinckley’s[ix] teachings on “We Look to Christ.”[x]

Granadilla

I had a nice nap this afternoon. In the evening, we had Stake Priesthood Meeting. The stake presidency gave some excellent talks on Family History,[xi] Temple Work[xii] and exercising our priesthood. Pres. John Boswell[xiii] gave a talk about “Feed My Sheep,”[xiv] or taking care of the new converts. He asked me to stand up and share what it was like for me to be new in Peru. I shared that (as one example) another senior missionary couple met us outside our house on Sunday, walked with us to church meetings, sat with us, showed us where the restrooms were and where the classes were. They also introduced us to how to open and eat granadilla (a type of passion fruit), where to shop, etc. He compared that to new and recently activated members: they need someone to show them the way, “feed” them, “shepherd” them.  All were excellent messages.

Written by Carter

 

[i] https://www.lds.org/church/news/new-leadership-announced-for-south-america-northwest-area?lang=eng

[ii] http://papachos.com/

[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puss_in_Boots_(2011_film)

[iv] http://crepesywaffles.com.co/pos/result/colombia/cali

[v] https://www.lds.org/topics/fasting-and-fast-offerings?lang=eng

[vi] https://www.lds.org/topics/testimony?lang=eng

[vii] https://www.lds.org/topics/tithing?lang=eng

[viii] https://www.lds.org/topics/priesthood?lang=eng

[ix] https://history.lds.org/exhibit/prophets-of-the-restoration-gordon-b-hinckley?lang=eng

[x] https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-gordon-b-hinckley/chapter-8-we-look-to-christ?lang=eng

[xi] https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history-alt?lang=eng&_r=1&old=true

[xii] https://www.lds.org/topics/temples?lang=eng

[xiii] http://ashtonslegacy.com/it-was-great-to-be-with-venezolanos-again/

[xiv] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/21?lang=eng

First Day On My Own

Saturday, May 6, 2017 – 8:10 pm

I titled this post, “First Day On My Own,” but I guess I should say… it’s the first day on my own without Carter. I did go to some open markets with another couple here and had a good day, so I wasn’t all alone. I got a lot done. I did 2 loads of laundry.  I made some chicken soup…. first thing I’ve cooked, besides eggs in the morning, since I’ve been here.

Carter flew to Columbia this morning to accompany a sick missionary back to Lima. It’s just a day trip. He left at 7:30 and should land in Lima tonight at 8:30. I just got a text that they’ve landed. It’s 8:15. Woohoo! (He walked in the door at about 10:20.)

After he left this morning, I knelt down and prayed for him. He was nervous and I was nervous for him. It’s his first official trip to accompany a missionary. There will be more trips like this, and if it’s a female missionary, I will go with him.

For some reason, a song came into my mind after my prayer…..one I learned when I was a child in Primary.

“When I’m home or far away

Heavenly Father hear me pray,

Keep me safely in thy sight

Help me choose and do what’s right

Thanks for home and family too

Many things to love and do

Thou art very good to me

Heavenly Father, thanks to thee”

That song has a been going through my head all day. It’s a comfort and it makes me smile. It has a sweet little melody. I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers wherever I am, but in this foreign land where I don’t speak the language very well….YET….Carter is my stabilizer and I felt a little off without him here.

It’s starting to feel like home a bit. I bought a white board and markers to put up in my kitchen. My brain works better with one of those. I now have an apron. I found one today at the Inca market. I’ve figured out how the washing machine works. I usually use the “rapido” cycle because it only takes an hour to wash on that cycle.  The “algodon” cycle takes one hour and 20 minutes! I know where to shop for things that I need. I can get there and buy them by myself if I need to. It will really feel like home when Carter gets back. Home, for me, is wherever he is, whether we are in St. David, Arizona or Lima, Peru.

The friend I was with today told me she would never go anywhere without her husband for the first 2 or 3 months they were here. Now she can go out on her own with no problem. There’s hope for me! We’ve been here for 2 weeks today.

Thanks, Heavenly Father for hearing my prayers and for keeping me, and Carter, safe today. “Thou art” so very good to me.

 

Written by Faye

 

 

It was great to be with Venezolanos again!

Here’s a fun fact about the southern hemisphere: when the water goes down the drain the vortex is counter-clockwise; I believe it is clockwise in the northern hemisphere. Can someone check on that for me, please? Now, on to an update of the past week’s activities:

On Sunday, we attended meetings in La Molina Ward[i]. An American couple accompanied us to our meetings so we knew where to go for each class. There are so many English-speaking members that they translate Sacrament Meeting[ii] to those who are wearing a headset. Sunday School and Relief Society[iii] have separate English-speaking classes for those who wish to attend. The teacher in the Spanish Sunday School class speaks so slowly and clearly that Faye could understand him…and she attended with me. She went to the English Relief Society class. Lessons and talks were as good here in Lima as I have heard anywhere.

After the block of meetings, the American couple took us to their house to introduce us to some of the Peruvian fruits and juices. Wow! Amazing flavor! Then they took us on a walking tour of the local area – so we know where we could shop and eat.

That afternoon, I had a much-needed nap after having arrived late the day before.

South America Northwest Area Medical Advisors (and wives)

Then we attended a class taught by the other Area Medical Advisor (AMA) serving here. I will oversee the missions in Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and 3 in Peru (17 total); he also has 17 (the rest in Peru and all of Ecuador); each of us oversee about 3,000 full-time missionaries. He is a retired interventional cardiologist and the topic was “The Ten Commandments of Missionary Health.” I liked the way he approached it: he started with Doctrine and Covenants Section 89[iv] regarding the Lord’s guidance on how we should care for our bodies. He then linked that to what missionaries should and should not do to maintain adequate health…and thus allow them to perform their sacred proselyting labors.

Then we ate dinner with the two American couples mentioned previously. We had some delicious food and great visiting.

I spent much of my week learning about my responsibilities. I think this will be a very rewarding experience as I help these very dedicated missionaries – and their presidents and presidents’ wives – to perform the Lord’s work.

One day, the other AMA and I visited a hospital in Lima that has very nice facilities. One of the missionaries was admitted there. I feel like she received very good care.

In a previous post,[v] Faye told you about our experience getting our Peruvian ID card. It was great fun to talk to the Venezolanos! Their faces really lit up when I asked them about their families! They are earning money here in Peru to help support their families in Venezuela – because the economic situation is so difficult in Venezuela. One of them showed us the picture of his wife’s ultrasound; she is due with twins!

Faye also mentioned the Mission Presidents’ Seminar. What a great blessing it was to be there with such great people! I hope I conveyed adequately to the mission presidents how much I want to help them care for their missionaries! They really are their surrogate parents while they are on their missions! I treasure the mentoring I received as a young missionary in Venezuela by Wesley Craig and Karl Fenn; those men made an immeasurable impact on my life.

I served with one of the Lima mission presidents as a young missionary (1982-83) in Venezuela. He was and is a great man! It was great to visit with him!

It was great to see John Boswell again…and to meet his wife!

I can’t express adequately how much I enjoyed visiting with the four Venezuela mission presidents and their wives Friday night. I became slightly emotional when I asked them how many stakes[vi] there are in Venezuela now: 32! And there were only two when I serve there 35 years ago! I asked them how the Church is doing given the current political crisis in Venezuela: they all said that the Church is strong. The members have been forced to watch out for one another and to be more self-sufficient. One president commented that the Lord always outlasts any political conditions. Once the current political situation there is improved, I see the membership in Venezuela exploding! Apparently, that’s what happened here in Peru: there was a terrorist group that made things difficult for the Church for several years. However, those external challenges made the Church stronger. As part of our meetings today, the bishop led a discussion with the adult and youth members about the growth of the Church in Peru. They showed a 15-minute video that outlined the history of the Church, which had its first small congregation in Peru in 1956.[vii] There are now 103 stakes in Peru! The gist of the discussion was about how the Church has blessed their lives and how they can bring more people into the Church going forward.

A dream come true: to be with Venezolanos again!

It has been a tender day for me as I have remembered Ashton on his 25th birthday. I have thought today about the many things that I do not understand about Ashton’s death. I am thankful for the gifts of faith and trust in my Heavenly Father. I have confidence in His justice and in His mercy!

Another great blessing of serving a mission with Faye now is the very close friendships we have formed with some amazingly good people we have met in the MTC and here in Peru! There may be some “honeymoon” feelings with how positive I feel about being in Peru; those feelings may wane over time. However, I talked with an older Church member from the US who is overseeing some renovations on the Lima, Peru Temple. He said he has lived in Latin America for 14 years throughout his life. And every day was a joy for him. I certainly feel that way right now! I pray that that feeling continues. I think some of that feeling may be because I am here to serve; service brings me closer to God, which brings indescribable happiness!

Written by Carter

 

[i] https://www.lds.org/maps/meetinghouses/@-12.072135,-76.938473,18&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5823137-01-01

[ii] https://www.lds.org/topics/sacrament?lang=eng

[iii] https://www.lds.org/topics/relief-society?lang=eng

[iv] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89?lang=eng

[v] http://ashtonslegacy.com/we-are-in-peru/

[vi] https://www.lds.org/topics/stake?lang=eng

[vii] http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics/country/peru

Labor Day In Lima

Monday, May 1, 2017 was Labor Day in Peru. We went with some other missionary couples to tour a big, old cemetery that is like a labyrinth. Its called Presbitero Maestro.  It cost 7 Soles to enter and 10 more Soles if you were going to take pictures. One dollar is 1/3 of a Sole.  Sole is pronounced “Solay.”We took the train to the northwest side of Lima. It was an over cast day, not too hot. Lots of pictures coming!

 

 

Waiting to get on the train. We forgot to bring any casual shirts for Carter. He’s been running around all day in his white shirt. He got a phone call right when it was time to take the picture. He’s starting to be on the phone a lot more.

 

Riding the escalator up to the train

 

 

The train!

 

 

Carter was a whole head taller than the locals!

 

 

The cemetery from afar

 

 

For My Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found a cute girl who wanted to practice her English!

 

Look at the name I found!

 

War memorial right in the center where many war heroes are buried. It’s always easy to spot Carter in his red UofA hat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found a shirt for him that evening. Yep…. he’s on the phone again.

 

We Are In Peru

We are in Peru!                        April 30, 2017

The first few days, Carter and I said that to each other quite often. Sometimes I would say it emphasizing different words:

We ARE in Peru! We are IN Peru! We are in PERU!

We had been here only 5 days when we had to pack our bags again to ride across town for the Mission Presidents seminar, held in downtown Lima over a 3 day period. I am sitting by Carter in the back of the room. I have headphones on to hear the English translation.

Here’s part of a journal entry:

“That was fun!

That’s exactly what I said while walking into our hotel room tonight. We had an amazing day at the Mission President’s Seminar.  It is Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:45 pm. We had been sitting at a table with all 4 of the Venezuelan mission presidents and their wives. Just like our son Jordan can sniff out a Korean anywhere, Carter can find a Venezolano, and we had 8 of them all to ourselves for about an hour. We had a great time telling about our families, where we were from, showing pictures and Carter exchanging contact information so they can reach each other for medical purposes. As part of his duties, he is responsible for the 4 Venezuelan missions. He served his mission in Venezuela and loves anything and anyone from Venezuela. Much of the day consisted of instruction from the area presidency, Elder Falabella, Elder Godoy, Elder Montoya and too much food! The night ended with dinner at the Venezuelan table and a group of Peruvian dancers.

Venezuelan Mission Presidents

 

This Mission President’s Seminar takes place every 6 months and the Area Medical Advisers are always invited too. We need to connect with the mission presidents and especially their wives who are responsible for the medical care of the missionaries in their mission. If anyone has a missionary serving in the South America Northwest area which consists of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru or Bolivia, your missionary is in good hands. These mission president couples work non stop almost and I was glad to know they get a break from their duties every 6 months. They work hard taking care of their missionaries. The area presidency gave some inspiring instruction and teaching. I felt that I was surrounded by very good people. I found myself saying, ” I believe that,” and “these are good people”  quite often.

We are now listening to the testimonies of the departing mission presidents and their wives. There’s a sweet spirit here. This is His work. I know that. I feel blessed to be here with these mighty servants of God.”

We love it here in Peru already. It’s humid and we walk everywhere in it. We don’t have central air conditioning, but I love the whole experience. I promised myself that I would love whatever is here for us. The area office where we work is air conditioned. What a blessing! We got lost walking to a grocery story yesterday afternoon, but we were rescued just in time when a fellow missionary couple called to see if we wanted to go to the same store with them.

Our air conditioned office with the Asays

This past Wednesday, the travel office took us to get our Peruvian ID cards. They picked us up at 6:45 am and we got done at about 12:30. We stood in lines the whole time, but Carter found some Venezuelans and we had some great conversations with them. I say “we”….. I understood a lot but didn’t say much. I can smile in Spanish!! We got a dental exam, got fingerprinted and will get our ID cards next week. We won’t have to carry our passports around once we get those ID’s.

We ate in our first Chifa, which is Peruvian Chinese food. There’s lots of Chifas here. The food looked like American Chinese food but didn’t have much flavor. I added some of their “aji” hot sauce and it was better.  I loved the experience though! There used to be a lot of Chinese people here in Peru, but I don’t remember how they got here.

Before dropping us back off at our house, the travel guys helped me get a Peruvian sim card so my phone would work here. I now have a working phone with a new number. Carter was issued a mission phone a few days after we arrived. If you want to contact me, use Facebook Messenger or email.

I got my first Peruvian haircut later that afternoon. Lets just say that 2 centimeters is a lot more than 1 centimeter. I held up my fingers measuring 1/4 inch. She said, “One centimeter?” I nodded yes. Before she started really cutting she said “Two centimeters?” I nodded yes. It couldn’t be that much more , right? It’s short! But my hair grows fast. I think I will ask some of the other missionary sisters to get a recommendation for my next hair cut. I still loved the experience. Carter got a great haircut!

Today is Ashton’s birthday. He is 25. I miss him… when I miss him, I miss the rest of my family. I bought some raspberries and read a few chapters in my book, with a fan close, last night in his honor. Candace’s family is having a birthday party for Ashton at 4:30 today and we are Skyping in. She is home base now for our family. Thank goodness someone has a stable household within our family. The rest of us are all over the place, but that’s OK. We are all doing what we need to be doing.

Con Amor….. Faye

 

Area Medical Adviser Training and Trip to Peru

Missionary Medical Trainees

I’m going to give a “travelogue” summary of what has happened the past week (4/16-22/17): On Monday, we started our training on how to be area medical advisers (AMAs). The Church’s program on how to document the care we provide to the missionaries is quite robust; it allows other providers of medical care to see what other providers have recommended to the same missionary…so there should be good continuity. It even allows non-medical people (like mission president’s wives, who oversee the health of the missionaries on a day-to-day basis) to document what is going on…and medical people can then read those notes.

We also learned how to find local doctors/clinics/hospitals that previous AMA’s have checked out. I was surfing on that site and even found some notes my brother, Ralph, entered in 2012 about a couple of clinics in Latvia! Cool!

We learned how to work with mission presidents to help them fulfill their responsibilities, recognizing that they have the priesthood keys and we act simply as advisers.

Elder and Sister Schwitzer (a retired ER physician and former colleague of Mike LeSueur when they both lived in Colorado Springs)[i] spoke briefly to us about the Brethren’s vision for of medical missionary work…very inspiring! It was a confirmation that the Church is led by prophesy and revelation.

Elder Weatherford T. Clayton[ii] also spoke to us. He is also a member of the Seventy and a retired physician.

At lunch on Monday, we at with our “First Contact,” a retired doctor from Utah who had previously served as AMA. If there’s a medical question I need some guidance on, I can call him. There is a cadre of medical specialists who are on call 24/7 whenever we have questions about medical conditions we are coordinating.

We also met our “In-Field Representative,” a non-medical, retired man who is a former mission president. He helps facilitate communication between the mission president, AMA, and the Brethren. Whenever a missionary comes home for medical or emotional reasons (about 6% of the missionaries who serve), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles[iii] always has the final decision.

We had a presentation on how to teach the missionaries to be safe. It was very enlightening to hear some of the causes of missionary injuries. Elder Schwitzer reminded us that some of these missionaries are “only 6 years out of Primary[iv],” so we can’t be too surprised when they sometimes make impulsive and foolish decisions. We learned about disease prevention.

We learned about common orthopedic, dental, eye and mental health complaints.

We learned about how to coordinate payment of care the missionaries received.

They shared with us some of the ways other couples have magnified their callings as AMA’s throughout the world…in addition to their “official” responsibilities (helping orphanages, teaching English, etc). Some of those are very inspirational; I jotted down some ideas of what we might do while we’re in Peru.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we had dinner with some old and new friends; what a blessing so many people have been in our lives!

On Thursday evening, we ate dinner in the hotel and started preparing for our trip. We caught a shuttle to the SLC airport Friday morning; our driver was from Peru! We had two extra suitcases, which cost us $200 each! Each one weighed 50#, so that’s $4/pound. However, I think it was worth it, because if we pay someone else to bring things down, it will cost us $8/pound. Things went smoothly in the airport. We sat by a nice young lady from Atlanta who now lives in Reno, but is engaged to someone who lives in Atlanta, so will be moving home. She flies home every two weeks. Things went smoothly in Atlanta airport, also. We were on a 767, which has 2 seats on each side and 3 in the middle. They fed us a nice meal at the beginning of the 3.5-hour flight and a snack at the end. I watched Moana. I had watched it previously, but didn’t understand a lot of the dialog; I watched it with subtitles this time and got a lot more out of it. I think that’s going to be essential for me, given my hearing loss! I also watched a TV show about a lady who travels to exotic places. This time she traveled to Iquitos, Peru, the largest city not reachable by road; it’s only reached by plane or boat (up the Amazon River). It was started by European “rubber barons” when rubber trees first started being harvested in the late 1800’s/early 1900s for all the automobiles that needed tires. At that time, the Europeans didn’t want their laundry washed with the dirty Amazon water, so they sent their dirty laundry back to Europe! Wow! There are some very ornate buildings from that era built by those Europeans; there was A LOT of money from that industry at that time! Eventually, the rubber industry was moved to Malaysia, where it was more practical/accessible than having to travel up the Amazon; after that, Iquitos was no longer the “rubber capital” of the world.

I also read a booklet about Cuzco and Machu Picchu, part of a travel guide to Peru. I did some sudoku. We landed at about 11:30. We went through customs and immigration smoothly. The other AMA here (and his wife) picked us up at the airport. We returned in a van/taxi; we live on the other side of Lima, so it took about an hour to get home. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic over parts of our trip, even at midnight!

 

[i] https://www.lds.org/church/leader/gregory-a-schwitzer?lang=eng

[ii] https://www.lds.org/church/leader/weatherford-t-clayton?lang=eng

[iii] https://www.lds.org/church/leaders/quorum-of-the-twelve-apostles?lang=eng

[iv] https://www.lds.org/topics/primary?lang=eng&old=true