Our mission has two member districts: the Tarma District (where we live, and which has 10 branches) and the Huancavelica District (which is 6 hours south of us and which has only three small branches). This past weekend, we traveled to Huancavelica so Scott could interview the current district leadership (a new district president needs to be called). Scott also interviewed some of the members and held a leadership training meeting.
On our way to Huancavelica, we stopped in Huancayo, where Scott hosted a luncheon meeting with the two stake presidencies and the high counselors over missionary work. His purpose was to get feedback from the stakes on how the missionaries in our mission can support the local leaders and visa versa. The leaders in Huancayo are wonderful and competent, and the meeting was successful. The two stake presidents invited us to return in two weeks to give a multi-stake fireside.
Our trip to Huancavelica was filled with several mini-miracles. The first miracle was that we arrived safely, no small feat considering the many miles of winding, steep roads through high mountain passes. After six hours of travel, our car broke down and would not start. Our second miracle was that we simply got out of the car and walked the last block to the church, arriving in time for Scott's interviews. When we finished the interviews, we walked three blocks to our hotel.
The driver could not find a mechanic, so he had to rent tools to fix the car so it would be ready the next day when we wanted to leave for Tarma. Our driver is still investigating the church. He and his family are progressing, but very slowly. He is such a wonderful man and takes excellent care of us. He is an extremely experienced driver and has taken us all over the central Andes. Here he is in front of our hotel in Huancavelica:
The Huancavelica branch is small and meets in a "casa capilla," a rented building (situated behind a big green door):
The church building has a courtyard, from which you can see the mountains in the background:
Scott had wonderful interviews with the district leaders, men and women, and their spouses. As with most places we go, the members of the Huancavelica district wanted their pictures taken with us. Of course, we were thrilled to get pictures of them. The Huancavelica branch president is the man standing on a ledge behind Beverly. The Lircay branch president is the man with glasses on the back row, two people to Scott's right. The first and second counselors in the Huancavelica District presidency are the two men on the far right. The district president isn't in the picture because he now works in another town and was unable to attend:
One of the youngest members of the Huancavelica branch is Abinadí, shown here sleeping. He is the one-year-old son of the second counselor in the district presidency.
Our third miracle was that, in addition to interviewing the district leaders and their spouses, Scott was able to help a man whose membership privileges had been suspended. The man was confused about some doctrine and after Scott explained it to him, he realized he wanted to come back into full fellowship in the Church. He and his wife were so happy, they left sobbing.
Perhaps the biggest miracle of all was that we made it back to Tarma safely. What a trip!