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

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