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.