Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week 81 - "Quick Things" Mar 18 - Mar 24 (Primavera)

The flooding seems to be letting up in the Trujillo area.  We had a few questions about what has been going on in the mission.  The first part of his letter are answers to those questions.  He is also finding opportunities to teach and has a great story about a family they met.  We are so glad he is safe and continue to pray for the safety of all the people of Peru.

Hey so I don't have a lot of time, but I'm gonna try to respond to your questions and also send a part of the letter to President about an investigator. I love you! We were just in a baptism of the secretaries, but we have a baptism next Sunday, so I'll let you know about that!

Yeah, so we were talking to the Elders in Casa Grande and we organized an escape plan for them jaja, they didn't need to leave because it was so dangerous, only because if it got any worse, they would be cut off from Trujillo, so no one was in any real danger. They are now staying in a building that a member owns that is renting it out to them for free. We were in charge of planning their ''escape'', finding lodging, finding pensionista, finding laundery, and constantly finding water for them. It was a huge puzzle and search game, but they are all situated fine now.

One quick thing, the video of the drone going over Trujillo is a big joke and a huge lie. Some fool put that video on the web to freak everyone out. IT IS NOT THAT BAD!!!!!!! I mean there are a lot of people affected, but all of Trujillo is not flooded. They took a video of some other city (I don't even know which) and put Trujillo. We looked at the places on Google Maps and they don't even exist here in Trujillo, so don't freak out. Everything is calming down now, there's almost no more things going on, just a little bit of rain.

About the Elder that was in the bus. He is completely fine, had very minor injuries, and is now proselyting, just yesterday we did service with him, moving somebody into a new house. He's a total hero and his story is going everywhere jaja, but he is completely fine.

We have plenty to eat and drink, and we are very well taken care of. We are missionaries of the only true church, so I don't really doubt that we'll be fine. Keep praying for us, but don't worry. I know that's hard, but really. We're fine here.

It's so great to hear from the family and I hope that everything is going okay with the demolition. I saw that picture of Dad cooking or something, in the basement, saw the hallway to my room, and thought ''I hope they don't go in there, it's probably a mess.'' And then I realized that there's not a mess in my room haha, it was a little panic attack hahahahha! So proud of Seth! I don't have time today, but I will write him next week on his birthday, because it's a Saturday.

In our area, we have been able to teach an hermana que se llama Hermana Kenia Salazar, and she is incredible! She came from Huanuco to live with her sister and has come to church 3 times now and has a baptismal date for this next Sunday. She has really strong and good desires to follow Christ, and more than anything, she wants her 2 sons to be on the right track. Just yesterday, we were teaching her and talked about the importance of going to church, and we really focused on why it will be important for her sons, one of which has not come with her yet. Elder Nuñez mentioned that someday, her son could maybe even be a missionary like us, and she said ''I want that more than anything else in the world'' and started crying and told us that she has been having a lot of problems with her son and that she wants to gain his trust back and help him to return to God, but she has been so lost and never knew how to do it. We testified of the power that Christ has that is found within His church and she seemed to find comfort in our words and will do everything she can to get her son to church this Sunday. We are praying and fasting for Kenia and her son today! The gospel isn't just for individuals, it's for families, and maybe I didn't realize it too much, but now that I am surrounded by so many families without it, it's so obvious how many blessings we have received as a family. I'm so grateful that my family is eternal and that we are able to enjoy the blessings plainly in my life. 

I love you!!!! Have a great week! Enjoy the gymnastics meet! Tell Gabe good luck!!!!! Love you more than PR's and having a clean room!! xooxoxoxoxoxoxoox

A trip to the beach

Coastal Desert

Reed Canoes

Some Birds at the Ocean 

Looks like they are collecting Water Bottles! 

These guys are just funny

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Week 80 - "Hey Everybody!" Mar 11 - Mar 17 (Primavera)

I'm sure you may have heard about the flooding that has been ocurring in Peru and this last week it significantly affected Trujillo.  Many areas in Peru, including Trujillo, are considered desert even though they are coastal.  Many homes are made of mud and wood and many have no roof because there is so little rain.  A few days ago there was a heavy downpour for 5 hours.  Many homes (20,000) were flooded and many were destroyed.  All of the missionaries are safe but some Peruvians have lost their homes, their possessions and many have lost their lives.  Jonah and the other missionaries are busy providing service trying to help those in need.  He details this in his letter below.  Unfortunately they are expecting more rain this week.  Please keep the Peruvian people and the missionaries in your prayers.

I'm not exactly sure what has been published or broadcasted on the news, it might not even be there, but if you've heard, there's a lot of flooding and rockslides that are happening here in Peu, especially in Piura, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Chimbote, and Lima. The good thing is that all of the missionaries are doing fine, there's no major problems, just a few rooms that were slightly flooded, but they are now staying in safer places. No missionary in Trujillo has been injured due to the flooding, so we are all fine. Sadly, that is not the same story for all of Trujillo, there have many people forced out of their homes and on mountain passes, rockslides have taken the lives of people traveling towards the mountains. Trujillo almost never gets rain, and usually does not absorb the water that travels from high up in the Andes, and now that it's receiving both at the same time, and due to all that, there is a lot of damage being done here. So since Wednesday, our week has mostly been full of service, and it's been really cool. I'll try to describe a little bit of what we've been doing.

On Tuesday night, it rained really hard here. And up in the higher and more poor parts of Trujillo, the majority of the houses are made of mud bricks or wood sticks, and they have either tin metal roofs or just tarps. Some houses don't even have roofs, and almost all of them have dirt floors. In other words, it's not fit for a rain storm. On Wednesday morning, we did an interchange with some Elders in one of the places in high up Trujillo and so Elder Parkinson and I re-built a guys roof. The metal had been torn down in few places and the tarp he had placed over the top got blown off, so we fixed everything up, put new beams in his house and made sure that he was ready for the next rainstorm. Later on, we came back down to our area closer to the center and while we were in the middle of a lesson, we start to hear a lot of ambulances and police cars passing by, and then we got some phone calls from some of the missionaries that said there were several rivers in the street. So we quickly ended the lesson (it was a great lesson by the way, haha, maybe I'll tell you about it later), and then we headed outside to see what was going on. We come out to see just about everyone out in the street, but there was no water where we were at, but everyone was laying down sandbags and bricks and just whatever out in front of their doorways, so we started helping a few people there close by, but then we heard that the main river was passing by a street called ''9 de Octubre'' and right there lives a family that we have been teaching. So we ran over there, helping a few older ladies to cross streets that had water slowly passing by, and then finally we got to the main road ''9 de Octubre'' and over there it was a lot more intense. The street and sidewalks were completely covered by about knee-high water, and several people were outside of their doors, trying to lay down sand bags and metal coverings in front of their entryways and garages. We spot the family further up the road, and the mom, Lourdes, is outside, looking around frantically, and so we make our way up the road to the house and we ask her what we can do to help. She seemed so relieved to see us, and said that her husband was buying sand and metal coverings for their house and was bringing it back in their pickup truck, but had been gone for a while and doesn't pick up his phone. We tried to calm her down and helped her back inside, and right after that, her husband rolls in with the materials, but the water was moving to quickly on the road to park it right by the house. So that's when he, Elder Nuñez, and I started chainlinking arms and moving all of the supplies from one side of the road to the other and placing it in front of their house to cover the holes. We finally get everything moved over after several trips, and get everything packed down to stop the water, so we all pile into the house and grab buckets to start bailing as fast we can. It had already gone through the whole garage and out back to a patio and was moving up a couple steps to get inside the house, but luckily they had blocked everything off so it wouldn't come inside. So we just bailed water for a long time, moved mud to the cracks so that it would slow the flow even more, and eventually saw the water level going down. Then we got up to the roof of their house because it started raining and part of their roof leaks, so we got that all covered up with more metal and tarps. The whole event took about 3 almost 4 hours to get everything settled down. But we did it haha.

After all of that stuff had kind of happened, they invited us in to rest a bit and drink some hot chocolate, so we sat down with the whole family, and had a really special moment. The 3 daughters in the family are really open and receptive, and one of them has actually been attending church for the past 4 years, but the parents have always been closed off to the missionaries and the Church, and have not allowed for the daughters to be baptized. Anyway, for the first time ever, we talk to all of the family at the same time, and they were really grateful that we had come, and they said that they couldn't thank us enough, and we shared our testimonies about the Church and the Gospel and how it's blessed our own families. Even the parents were very receptive and asked us to come back again to teach a lesson. It was so cool! We didn't know how to react and so we scheduled another meeting with them, and will be teaching them more.

Service is a such a wonderful opportunity to do two different things. Number one, help and love other people in action instead of just words, and number two, giving a chance to say why you do it and who's example you follow while doing it. That's what we've seen a lot of in this week. The river has come through the city now 3 times and so we've been able to help a lot of people, always keeping safe, and just staying happy! We're doing great out here! We love you so much, and will keep you updated!! Have a great week!! :)

Planning in the Office

Out on the flooded streets

Photos from Trujillo

Trujillo floods

Trujillo flooding

Flooded cemetery

Flooded cemetery

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 79 - "No Parasites" Mar 3 - Mar 10 (Primavera)

Jonah has been working a lot and planning for and teaching at Zone Conferences (training sessions for missionaries).  Currently their Pension is just cooking them lunch, he says that they cook their own breakfast and dinner.  He says that they sometimes cook Tortellini or Ravioli with tomato sauce, cheese and bacon (not from a can - haha).  They have a clothes washing service too but there are always socks that seem to go missing so - send him some socks.

There was an Elder Peterson who got robbed but I'm fine, we live in possibly the nicest place of all of Trujillo. Maybe there's a couple other spots, but basically the richest part. And our water is treated and we have an extra water filter. When I was in Casa Grande, now that's a different story haha, several missionaries have come back from Casa Grande with parasites, but I didn't so that's cool! I've got a good immune system :)

It's been a great week! So we had zone conferences, which is a conference with multiple zones, Mission President, his wife, and the Assistants. So, like I had mentioned, we saw almost all of the missionaries. You might've seen Sis. Marble's pictures, but maybe not yet, but she'll get them up soon. So we had that here in Trujillo by the plaza de armas where I used to go to church when I was in Central on Tuesday we were with Casa Grande and Guadalupe On Wednesday, we were with Central, Primavera, and Porvenir. And Thursday, we were with Central and Este. (those are all the zones' names besides Cajamarca by the way). We gave an hour long training during that conference about ''teach people, not lessons'', and it was super cool and we learned a lot about listening, focusing on needs, and loving people. President spoke a lot, also his wife, and then we gave a review of a bunch of different past conferences. Then we ate lunch and returned to the normal proselyting day, and that's what we did Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, right in a row, so that's why it was a little crazy. Also this week, we had a cool experience. So we were teaching this guy named Martin, he's a bouncer at some night club, and he drinks and smokes. He's been going through some really tough things in his life, and then just about 2 weeks ago, his mom passed away. He's been really confused about life, and really mad at God for what he is living. Anyway, we were teaching him, and we felt prompted to ask him if he wanted to feel ''whole'' instead of ''empty'' and he said that after his mom died, he wasn't sure that anything could fill the hole that he has. So then we remembered a scripture that we had just read, that talked about the nefites being made whole through baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and after we shared it, he sat there thinking for a long while. After this long pause, he turned to us and said ''I think I know what God wants me to do'', and followed it with a question ''What do I need to do to get ready for baptism?''. It was a really cool experience, and we're really excited to work with him more so that he can overcome his addictions and be made whole through the Spirit. We are now trying to help him maintain his excitement and help him not to forget where he is headed.

Elder Nunez, Elder Bentley (one of the Senior Couple Missionaries) and Jonah - same ties

Office Time

Selfie Smile

Not sure what they are fishing for

MPTN - Mision Peru Trujillo Norte


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Week 78 - "Sorry, no time!" Feb 25 - Mar 2 (Primavera)

This week's email is a bit sparse.  Sounds like Jonah must be super busy.  P-Day has been a bit inconsistent so we were surprised to get an email during the middle of the day on Friday.  We had no time to reply he was already off of the computer.  There are a few pictures but they seem to be all about Ping Pong, so I will not post all 55 of them - haha!

Hey I love you so much! There's like no time, but this week has been great! We've been working way hard and we're getting a lot of different people prepared for baptism. March and April should be great months. I love you! I will be on P-day on Friday, and will always let you know from now on when I'm writing. Have a great week!!  (By the way I bought 10 ties for 50 soles which is like 15 dollars so that was cool!)