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