Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20, 2013

Hello Again, We just had a very busy two weeks getting ready for the visit of the Area Presidency, Elder Nelson from the 12 Apostles and Elder Rasband from the 70's to our mission area. There were lots of preparations, food, travel, chapels, airline tickets etc. There were also very visible miracles that happened while they were here.  First was when a young sister and her mother came into the office so that President Douglas (who is her Stake President) could set her apart for her mission to go to her mission in another country. Her mother, who is not a member, accompanied her to the temple and waited outside while she was in receiving her own endowments. Elder Nelson, Rasband, Grow and the other two in the Area Presidency were also in the temple that morning. As the sister's mother was sitting outside on a bench Elder Nelson came out of the door and walked across to the sitting area in the gardens and introduced himself, ask why she was sitting there and asked to shake her hands. She said yes but was concerned because she had a lot of arthritis in her hands and had been in great pain for many years.  She was afraid he would shake them too hard but did so anyway.  He held them for quite a few minutes in both of his as he talked to her.  When he let go and walked away all the paid had left her hands and she was pain free for the first time in many years. As her daughter came out of the temple  her mother told her the man's name and what had happened and the daughter told her mother the man was an apostle of God from Salt Lake City. They then took a taxi to the office and she told President Douglas of the incident and showed him her hands. They then went out to catch a bus so they could go to her home before she left the next morning.  WOW!!!!

On Saturday morning half of our zones met in  the Lima Tumbo Chapel about a half hours taxi ride for us and had a incredible meet with both Elder Rasband, Elder Nelson and his wife Wendy, Elder Grow and his wife Rhonda, Our Mission President Douglas and his wife Ann and the other two members of the area Presidency and their wives and they all spoke or bore their testimonies.  Elder Nelson spoke for 45 minutes and it was really something to hear the promises he made to the Elders and Sisters if they remained faithful to the missionary work in this part of the Lord's vineyard. Very inspiring and just what was need for the mission at this time, in this place and for this time the gospel is rolling forth in this part of the world. The Nephites and Lamanites lived here and that is why the gospel is so readily recognized and accepted by these people, even though it requires a whole new culture for them to change their lives and live it.

Saturday night we attended 3 baptisms of the Office Missionaries in Chorrillos at another chapel and that was really nice since they work hard all day in the office and go out to do missionary work in the evenings.

Sunday we attended a Stake Conference in Villa Maria in another beautiful chapel and it was with Elder Rasband.  The attendance was chapel and cultural hall was full and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  When the meeting ended all the people crowded to the front just to see him and shake his hands. Some were even crying tears of joy.  He ended his 45 minute talk with a special apostolic blessing on them from Pres. Monson and it was truly an incredible experience.

Tuesday Elder Rasband visited the office and afterward Ken and I went over to the President's Apartment and had lunch with him.  He told us of another miracle in a another meeting he attended with Elder Nelson in another area after a long drive. They were running a little behind time and were very tired but pushed on. When they arrived the Chapel was completely packed and a very large tent the size of the chapel was sent up outside with large televisions so everyone could see these two men. There were over 2,ooo attending. Elder Nelson was the last to speak and Elder Rasband said he only made a few short remarks because he wanted to leave more time for Elder Nelson.  After Elder Nelson talked with an interpreter for 40 minutes he said he felt the Lord wanted him to bear his testimony and give them a very special apostolic blessing from the Lord just for them and he was prompted to do it in Spanish even though he hadn't spoken spanish for 50 years since he was a young missionary. The interpreter told Elder Rasband, the Area President and President Douglas that the 15 minutes he bore his testimony he spoke perfect spanish and every verb was correctly used. It was truly another miracle as he has always had interpreters the preceding days and in the days and meetings that followed. I can't even imagine the grueling pace of travel and meetings they have when they go to an area. I truly feel guilty having to work 8 or 9 hours in the office daily and complain about being tired. So it has been a great two weeks. We are not preparing for missionaries going home on the 16 of Dec and new ones coming from the MTC here on the 17 of December.  Plus new letters of welcome going out to 163 new members, and many other things. You would never believe the reams of paper and the printer ink we go through in a week.  This has turned out to be a very long blog…….Sorry, sort of, for that but it is such great news to share. Love to all. The "older" Alkemas

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 Noviembre 2013

Elder Whitely Burgos on left.  Elder Durfey on right

Carolyn and Hermana Douglas in Zone Leaders Conference

One third of room singing Called to serve

The sun

Elders Whitely, Bing, Read from left.  

Can you believe people eat these.

Supposedly these flowers catch birds and eat them

Park by our house.

See the red bird on the wire.  

I took lots of pictures of it.  

Pacific Ocean by larcomar

Another view from our apartment

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It's Tuesday and we are taking our P-day since we had Cambios last Friday and Saturday. We had 15 missionaries go home on Friday and 15 new ones from the CCM (MTC) early Saturday morning.  The mission president and his wife get to the CCM at 6:30 am and the missionaries are "suppose to be" ready to go. There are sometimes very tired because they were up late saying their goodbye and I am sure they are very nervous to walk out of those doors into the real world of Peru.  They have a very busy time at the office and there is a lot going on giving them rules, regulations, schedules, health procedures, nutrition, money management, some breakfast, then back to more meetings and about 1:00 lunch is served. By then they look a little shell shocked and disoriented. Finally at about 3:00 p.m. after each has been interviewed by the President (who has their profiles in front of them they have a 10-15 minute visit, prayer and go back to the conference room. During that few minutes the President decides who they will be paired with for a trainer.  The trainers are called the day before, travel in and wait in the Conference room of another mission just down the hall. All are brought together and the Mission President or his wife lets them know who their trainer will be. Then we always sing "Called to Serve", have a prayer and they walk out o the door to catch taxis and buses. One sister this last time got food poisoning at the CCM the day before and she was definitely not feeling well. I had compassion because she had a 10 hour bus ride ahead of her to Ayacucho. It is a winding, high altitude area so many of the missionaries going there have altitude sickness on the top of it. But off she went and had a lot of good medicine in here from all day so hope she is feeling better now. No news is good news here, especially with health problems. One sister who has been out for a while had the cash machine eat up her card but she did take $/400 soles out before that so there was just a little left and that can be given her in the packets in cash when they go out each Friday to the areas.

The weather is starting to turn and the other day it was sunny for about 3 hours but we were in the office sending off missionaries to the planes.  There is so much paperwork going home, coming in and still many are here without Visas. They start the process at the CCM and are at least in the system.  We still haven't received ours but will hopefully month---who knows. The time is going fast and the office is a very busy place and there are always things to do.  We will start another round of Zone Conferences, Area Conferences and that is a very busy time as well.  The baptisms are still coming very fast and so those take time to enter into the system and send to Salt Lake. The real work begins for the missionaries and the wards and stakes to make sure they stay active and feel they are needed. Peru is as different as anywhere. Lima, where we are is very modern and I can tell you that a lot of wealthy people live in this area. In Chorrillos, just about 10 miles away there are dirt roads and cement floors in the houses. I can't believe what some of the missionaries live in but the Lord takes care of them and they do survive and grow stronger. They are fearless when they go out and are not afraid of talking to any and all. And they have great success. Just the last two months the baptisms have been 180 and 150.
The sisters do need to clean bathrooms and wear sensible shoes. They wonder why their feet hurt and their knees in "cute" little flimsy shoes----when what they need are ones with great support that can still look nice and can get dirty.  Well we are going to seek a fun shopping center and see if we can learn how to bargain better rather than just look like tourists. You would think our name tags would help but if one doesn't speak the language fluently there is a breakdown somewhere between the Buenos Dias and the Chow at the end. Oh well, its just one more learning curve in the mixture.  The young missionaries seem to have the language down really well in anywhere from 6 weeks to 2 months. It really is the gift of tongues.  Talk to you next week. We love you all and miss you.