Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our Trip to the Town of Junín

Meet some of the members of the Junín Branch of the Tarma District. They are at the branch chapel for the release of Sister Dora Córdoba (standing between Scott and Beverly) from her service as a missionary in the Perú Piura Mission.

While Scott was privately interviewing and releasing Sister Córdoba, Beverly played a small keyboard and members of the branch sang their favorite hymns. Then the Branch President (front row, far left) conducted a 15-minute devotional he had organized where Sister Córdoba, Beverly, and Scott gave their testimonies. It was a wonderful experience.

The man standing on the far right is our non-member taxi driver who also participated in the services. Scott had given him the first missionary discussion on a previous trip to La Oroya. We have given his name to the missionaries and he has promised to attend church in Tarma tomorrow.

This little branch has its own nice LDS chapel on a large plot of land:

This picture shows the corner on which the chapel is located (you can see the chapel fence at the right):

This shows the street (looking north) on which the chapel is located:

This is a view of the town, located at an elevation of 13,500 feet above sea level, which explains why all the members in the first picture were so warmly dressed:

This picture shows the area surrounding Junín (the Pampas or altiplano). It is a large area of relatively flat land situated in the high Central Andes:

Every day is an adventure for us here in Peru.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Tarma Attire

Tarma's temperatures this time of year are around 50 degrees during the day and 45 degrees at night. So what do we wear? Lots! Keep in mind that NO home, apartment, hotel, restaurant, or church (including the Mormon church) is heated. Here at the church, Beverly has on several layers underneath her coat. Scott has on a suit and thick sweater; he took off his overcoat for the picture.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Tarma Missionaries

We belong to the Tarma-La Oroya-Cerro de Pasco Zone. Our zone leaders (who live in La Oroya) are Elder Cook (from Logan, Utah) and Elder Lima (from Arequipa, Peru). We had them at our home for a spaghetti dinner after leadership meeting on Sunday, Feb. 22. Here's our picture after the dinner:

Monday night (Feb. 23) we had the Tarma missionaries to dinner. We held a birthday party for Elder Wengren (from Taylorsville, Utah), and served chicken fajitas (made with tortillas, chicken, and cheese we brought from Lima). Here we get ready to cut the cake: Elder Illachura (from Tacna, Peru), Elder Arrascue (from Trujillo, Peru), Elder Keel (from Victorville, California), Elder Wengren, and Beverly.

Elders Arrascue and Keel are the missionaries who work in the area where we live. We hold Family Home Evening with them and their investigators once a week:

Elder Wengren gets ready to blow out the "candles" (actually match sticks stuck upside down in the cake):

We love these hard-working, baptizing missionaries.

Monday, February 23, 2009

An Amazing Day in Palcamayo

The branch president of the tiny Palcamayo Branch of the Tarma District invited us to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, February 22, 2009. So we rode 18 miles north of Tarma along an unpaved road through agricultural valleys, with scenes like this one at every turn:

As we neared Palcamayo, the taxi driver stopped at Shaprash so we could take a picture of this famous cliff, the "Rostro de Cristo" (the countenance of the Savior's weeping face).

Palcamayo, with about 5,000 people, is at an altitude of 11,623 feet. It has no industries except those related to agriculture and tourism. The town has the little Palcamayo River running through it, as shown here:

It is a sleepy, quiet town, where you can see animals walking down the middle of the street:

This young man is packing some feed for his animals. On his back, he is carrying a plastic container with liquid pesticide for his farm.

We arrived in Palcamayo about an hour before church started, and went with President Coronel (a young, newly married branch president) to visit members and to invite them to church. Without a special invitation, they will sometimes go to work in their fields on Sunday. Here President Coronel knocks on the door at a member's home:

Inside the home were two members, a mother and daughter:

We visited the home of one of the first members of the church in Palcamayo. Here she is shown on the left (she is with her 95-year-old mother and her charming but shy daughter):

We posed with them for this picture:

The grandmother let Scott take this picture:

The first member to arrive at church was the Young Women president with these four children:

We took our musical keyboard with us, so that Beverly could play for the meeting. Even before the meeting started, the members asked Beverly to play their favorite hymns. They have probably never had an accompanist in the branch.

Eighteen people attended the meeting (five of whom were visitors from Tarma). Afterwards, we took a group picture, shown here. (You can barely see Beverly who is seated.) At far right is the first counselor in the District Presidency who also visited the branch that day. One of our purposes for visiting the branch was see whether the branch should be closed due to the small numbers and lack of priesthood holders.

This is the "casa capilla" (house chapel). You can see the name of the church on the wall above the balcony.

After two hours of meetings (there aren't enough members to hold the three-hour block), we climbed a hill in town to visit a young man who joined the church a couple of months ago but who hadn't attended that day. He wasn't home.

Beverly pauses on our hike back down to town:

Scott loved hiking the hill and taking pictures of the quaint little town below:

We were filled with the Spirit as we met and spoke with the members in Palcamayo, and attended their meeting. We were awed by their picturesque valley. This was one of the most wonderful experiences of our mission so far.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Tour of Our Tarma Home

We've already posted pictures of the outside of our home. Now you get to see the inside.

Here's the couch in our large living room. You can see the front door on the right.

Here is the study area in our living room. Beverly's computer is on the big table; Scott's is on the computer desk/bookshelf on the right. The printer sits on a night stand we brought down from upstairs. Notice the nice new wood floor (we had to help pay for it).

This is the downstairs bathroom. The miracle is not in how it looks, but in the fact that it has hot water to the sink and the tub/shower.

The master bedroom. It's actually larger than it looks. Notice the nice new wood floor (we had to help pay for it).

One of the three guest bedrooms, with two beds in each one. We have plenty of room for visitors! Notice the nice new wood floor (we had to help pay for it).

This shows our kitchen "cupboards." We haven't seen any homes, ours included, with built-in cupboard space.

Beverly is washing the dishes in our large kitchen. Note the wonderful kitchen stove.

Scott enjoys a cup of juice while sitting at the kitchen table.

Scott stands by our refrigerator, which is too big to fit through the kitchen door, so it sits out in a hallway. Can you remember how little our fridge was in Lima?

Scott is shown here cooking our first meal on the stove.

Because of the high altitude of Tarma (10,016 feet), the fact that our home here is not heated (it gets cold at night!), and the difficulty we have in buying simple things (like clean ground beef and chicken, tortillas and salsa, edible fruits and vegetables, especially lettuce), our life in Tarma is like camping in a large cabin in the High Uintahs. Scott loves it! Beverly has never really enjoyed camping.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friends and Neighbors

Our dearest friends in Tarma are the Durmánd family. Brother Durmánd (our branch Elders Quorum President) was the man who found our home, helped us prepare the contract, organized the branch to get our home ready, and helped us in many other ways. He has the cutest kids. Here Beverly and I sit in the park with them.

I guess they are our surrogate grandkids while we are away from our 17 (going on 19) grandkids in Utah. This picture shows Cami and Eduardo Durmánd.

Our landlandy Neli (with whom we have had some difficulty) is shown here on the far right. She is opinionated and quirky, but she is definitely clean. She spends most of the day puttering around the house and yard keeping things tidy. Shown on the left are her daughter Rosa and husband (who live in Lima).

Our first day here, this group of boys yelled "Hey, Gringos!" and then sold us some bread. (We didn't dare eat it because their hands were so dirty.) Are the Peruvian kids cute, or what?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Youth Conference in Tarma, Peru

On the first Saturday of our life in Tarma, we were asked to participate in a Youth Conference of the Peru Tarma District. Scott was the final speaker at the devotional. Afterwards, three young sisters asked him to pose for a picture. Here it is.

Beverly was asked to bear her testimony and to accompany the hymns. The members in Peru have never heard anyone play the piano as Beverly can. After most meetings where she plays, she is swarmed by members who want her to play their favorite hymn or play something else for them. The youth conference was no exception, as shown by this picture.

One of the main activities of the youth conference was a dance. The youth really got into it.

Many of these youth traveled an hour or more from towns and villages around Tarma to participate in the conference. For example, many kids came from a small branch in the town of Junín, located at about 14,000 feet above sea level in the Central Highlands of Peru. How wonderful to see these young people from the House of Israel enjoying the blessings of the gospel. They are the first to tell you, with pride, that they are the descendents of the people of the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Helping Hands in Tarma

To our surprise and amazement, as we arrived at our new home in Tarma, we found a whole swarm of brothers and sisters working to get our home ready for us. They painted inside and out, refurbished the wooden parquette floors in three rooms, and did general cleaning.

This picture shows hermano Ciro Meza (front), presidente Romaní (our branch president, in back), and Kevin Sánchez (a great young man in our branch, at right) painting the fence in front of the home.

This picture shows Kevin doing some detail work.

And here´s the finished product. We´ll post pictures of the inside later.
It´s hard to describe how much love and acceptance we have felt in the short two weeks that we have been here in Tarma. We are treated just like family by the warm Peruvian members.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tarma: A Place of Contrasts

We´ll post more pictures of our new home later, but we couldn´t resist posting this picture now. To us it symbolizes the contrasts of where we live--in an large home with hot water (almost unheard of here in Tarma) but we still live in a primitive environment by U.S. standards. The picture shows Scott´s white shirts hanging out to dry in our side yard.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tarma is a cool place!

This chart of the 15-day forecast is almost identical to all the 15-day forecasts in Tarma during this, their winter season (Nov through Feb). In other words, the temperature stays more or less between 47 and 51 degrees Fahrenheit all day every day. It also rains most days for brief periods of time. During the Tarma summers, the temperatures are even colder!, but it doesn't rain.

Those are indeed cool temperatures, but during the day, you would swear it's a lot warmer than that. Sure enough, the "Real Feel" high temperatures, shown in the upper red line on the chart, indicates that during the day, the 50-51 degrees feel like 60-65. During our recent 5-day visit to Tarma we felt comfortably warm during the day and uncomfortably cold at night. We have since purchased jackets and sweaters, so we'll feel comfortable all day and night.

We love that climate!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some Of Our Favorite Peruvians

Here's a collection of pictures of some of our favorite people whom we have met during our first 100 days in Peru.

Beverly with members in Tarma, where we're moving to this week:

President Luis Lazo, first counselor in the Peru Lima East Mission presidency:

A group of members (and one investigator soon to be baptized) from our La Molina Vieja Ward in Lima:

Some of the young women of the Viñas Ward (which meets in the same building as our ward):

Mario, our barber and hairdresser:

Two little girls from La Molina Vieja Ward:

Some of the youth from La Molina Vieja ward play around after church:

Some of the young men of La Molina Vieja Ward practice singing:

Filipe "Pipo" Álvarez, our ward executive secretary and the guy who painted our apartment:

Elder Leiva, Assistant to the President, who has now returned home to Arequipa, Peru, from his mission:

The Dinklang family at Brother Dinklang's baptism. This family lives near us and became some of our dearest friends. We held several family home evenings with them:

Blas Alvarez, whom I baptized in 1965, now celebrating his 82nd birthday:

Bishop Prieto of La Molina Vieja Ward:

We love all of these wonderful people!