This Is Peru!

This Is Peru!

December 24, 2011

Missing the snow... Loving the work.‏

Hey everyone!! 

Well, where to start? This last week has really flown by. I can't believe that it is only 2 weeks until Christmas!! Time is a strange thing in the mission. 

So, we have been really trying hard with the family of 4 to help them progress, but this is the third week that we have invited them to come to church, but they just don't come. I don't know what the deal is. The dad can be kinda weird at times. For example, on Saturday we had an appointment with them at 7, so we went over and it was just the dad. He said that his wife sends her apologies that she wont be able to come because of something that came up. So, he was kinda pushy to get us out, I don't know why, but I knew I had to at least invite them to church. I started talking about the church, and he just cut me off right in the middle of my sentence. We all left after that, pretty upsetting. So, I guess we'll see if they end up accepting commitments and progressing. 

We had something interesting happen just this week. We were told that our old investigator that moved to Puerto Maldonado would be moving back to Cusco because her husband is basically a piece of crap. So, even though she has a little 1 year old, and is pregnant, she is leaving him. So, we are going to visit her this week, seeing that she gets here tomorrow! She told us that she really wanted to get baptized, so that will be another on the 24th! We have 2 for sure baptisms programmed for the 24th, and a few possibles. So, we'll have a "white" Christmas this year! Were all real excited! Were trying to get a couple married, but I don't know if it will happen. He works up at Machu Picchu for months at a time, and when he comes home (like he will tomorrow) he comes home for only a week. Then he leaves again. So, we'll see if they decide to get married. If they do, the wife really wants to get baptized. She told us that yesterday at church. She is so awesome! Her and her 7 year old kid were waiting outside of their house yesterday morning to go to church at 8 with us. She is making a lot of friends in the church and she whispered a couple weeks ago during the sacrament, "I feel so peaceful." It was really special. Her boyfriend (whom we have taught many times before) told her once that he would belong to the church. He didn't say when, just that he would. So, before you know it, they will be a complete family! Such a great feeling. 

So that's what's going on in the work for now! Thank you guys for getting after the boys to write me. It was good to hear from them. And thank you dad for helping with Machu Picchu! I am meeting with a guy today from another ward that is a tour guide to talk about all the details for our trip next Monday! We are all really stoked to go. We will be waking up at around 2am to take a bus from Cusco to a place called Ollanta to get on the train that will take us to Machu Picchu Pueblo. There is a little town at the bottom of the mountain that actually used to have missionaries there, but it was closed. So from the pueblo we will get on another bus that will take us up to the actual mountain. We will be there for the sunrise, and most of the day just exploring the ruins and taking pictures. It's gonna be so fun!!!

And yes, Skype this year! It's gonna be so strange to see all of you! I will have all the details ready by next week. I know that the President wants all of us office elders to spend Christmas at the mission home, and I'm way stoked for that. Last year they said that they spent Christmas eve there, watched Disney movies, and just slept over until Christmas. I am so lucky to be in the office for Christmas! It should be a lot of fun! So we'll see when and where we will be skyping, and I will let you know next week! Mom, I'm sure they will love the present you got! It sounds perfect. Really, it does. I can see him putting it in his office or the house somewhere. But, no. I have not gotten the package yet... Still waiting. You might want to call Vanessa and see whats up. But I'm excited for the package! Thanks so much for that. What am I NOT supposed to open till Christmas? I will wait, I just need to know! Also, yes dad, I will be here until the 27th, That's when we will have the change meeting here in Cusco. I don't know where I will go yet, and I don't know if president will let me pick either. But you'll know when I know! Keep your fingers crossed for jungle! ;)

So funny story. Yesterday we got to Sister Carrascos house for lunch, when we hear from behind us, "The Mormons from America!" We spun around to see kind of a scraggly looking guy with long hair. I said, "Yup, that would be us. Where are you from?" He answered, "I'm from Norway. (pause) I like Joe Smith. I like what he found... the... the... the script! I listened to the missionaries in 1970." So then we asked him where he was from or if he was visiting. He started to walk away, then turned around and put his hand on the side of his mouth like he was whispering and said in a voice that I cant really explain, just that it was hilarious, "I'm looking for something!" Hahahaha, we walked in the door and bursted out laughing. Oh man, you should have heard it. He was a crazy. For sure. So, training is going well, Elder Buckner is learning quickly how to do everything. 

Anyway, I don't think there is anything left to say, just that I love you all! Be sure to tell Stu and Lori thanks for me! I will be sending them something special in the mail for sure. I'll just send it to the house, and you guys can take it over to them. They are so great. I miss them! Tell Stu that I'm still taking my vitamins! And I got an email from Stewbabe, so tell him thank you very much for that. I also got an email from Uncle Mike, he sent me an electronic copy of his season card he does every year. It's so great to hear how everyone is doing. Especially this time of year! You're all missed dearly, and I can't wait to see you Christmas day! Take care everyone! 

P.S. Were listening to Mannheim Steamroller Christmas right now, and were lovin it. I love Christmas! Sure miss the snow!

Secretario Financiero

Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

Its December!‏

Hey family,
Happy December! Wow, already December! This will be quick because I didnt have any emails in the morning and I was waiting to get something from someone, and now its time to leave! Maybe more will write next week?
How sweet of you mom to hold onto that for me for when I'm... (gulp).. married. Haha, but really, you can get rid of the Christmas decorations that you don't need. Unless your dead set on keeping it, then ok!
So, I'll just quickly update on some news this week. First off, I'm leaving the office this cambio! Right now, I am training Elder Buckner from Vernal that entered the mission with me to be my replacement! We shared a room in the Lima CCM and everything. He is way cool, and a super smart guy. He will do a great job. The task of training a new Financial Secretary is pretty intense. There is so much to do and to remember! But we keep working in our sector and we are still visiting the family of 4! We have invited them to a FHE tonight with the mission pres, so were hoping that they are able to attend! Right now we will be passing by their store to see if they are able! Cross your fingers...
What else, well, two days this week we were stuck in the office. The ZL's had their training, then the DL's & Trainers had theirs the next day. I had to be there the whole day helping ZL's with their Zone Fund, and the next day giving reimbursements to the DL's.
So Bridger finally has his braces off? I need to see a picture of that! You can attach pictures to emails ya know... Haha. So, good for you big guy. You're probably a lady killer by now, huh?
Yes, mom, we are hoping to go to Machu Picchu this month! Hopefully it'll be possible! I really haven't visited a lot of cool places here in Cuzco, even though I've been here for what, 7+ months? Oh well, hopefully we'll have some cool pdays this month. It's about the cost of $60, for us! Because we have something called a "Carnet De Extranjeria". Its basically ID here in Perú for foreigners. With that, we pay CHEAP to get into Machu Picchu. Normally its $100-200 to go and pay for everything.
We still have 2 people with a fecha for the 24th! They are cousins, but one has a "boyfriend" and they have a 7 year old kid. So, we need to help get them married, and they are willing to get married in order to get baptized. So, I guess that would be 3 con fecha! Were excited!! Pray for them please!
I'm glad that everything is okay with the house! That wind sounds absolutely crazy. Elder Whittaker told me that his house was without power for 2 days! Insane. Thankfully we missed the worst of it.
And about the Christmas call... You'll also have to count down the days until you see me... because were gonna be Skyping!!! That's right, President gave us permission! How cool is that? We're all pretty stoked. So, you'll have to have a bunch of people over to see me! Ha, its gonna be so weird. But cool! Look forward to it!
Love you, hope you all have a good week! Take care! Chao!

Secretario Financiero
Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

Pic of me and Rogers doing the laundry run last night. Rained pretty hard!
Christy! You're the best, thanks for writing! Whats your address? I hope you knee is doing better!! Haha, take care! :)

December 7, 2011

Savin' lives.‏


First off…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIDGE!!! Man, you’re 17 years old. That’s weird to think about. Hope your day is great buddy! Sure love you! Next year you’re getting cake in your face.

This week has flown by! Man, this week (if I leave the office) my replacement will come! So strange to think about. I’ve gotten so accustomed to being here in Cuzco and the office, but I am so excited to get back out in the field where its just my comp and me. Next week you’ll know if I’m leaving or not! So, there are a number of possibilities where I can go next. I’m still banking on jungle! We’ll find out soon enough. The task of training a new financial secretary will be a good challenge. I’m going to write up a sheet that explains EVERYTHING, so that he can just look to that when he has questions. I’m not sure though if its gonna be a Latin or a North American. Time will tell

So, I kinda have a crazy story. Elder Whittaker and I went to an appointment on Tuesday and we were teaching two cousins. One of them has a 7 year old kid, and the other isn’t married. Well, the one with the kid isn’t married either, but anyway. So, we were teaching them about the Doctrine of Christ, 2nd Nefi 31. When, one of them receives a phone call from her boyfriend and leaves the room with her kid, apparently because it was an argument. So, we try to wait for her, but she didn’t come back very soon so we kept teaching. We came to their house that day with the goal of challenging them to baptism, and we were about to do so, when all of the sudden the kid bursts into the house and says, “A man fell in the river! He needs help!” So, we jump up and rush outside to see whats going on. Now, you should understand, this river has walls of concrete about 12 feet high on both sides. This man, who was WAY drunk, had fallen into this river head first. When we got out there, he had managed to stand up, but was just standing there like… confused, didn’t know what happened, etc. He was soaked, but not all of it was water. It was the blood gushing from his head. He had a legit hole in his head, definitely a broken skull, and a mashed nose. So, Whittaker jumps down into the river and helps him to get his footing at the base of the wall. He boosts him up and I grab his arms to lift him out. He was HEAVY. (Thank you adrenaline!) We got him out, sat him down, and I called President Carrasco, the doctor, for help on what to do. He said to call the equivalent of 911 here in Cuzco which is 105. We called, but no one answers. By this time there were 2 people with us and they said, “No, if you call from a cell phone they don’t answer because they think it’s a prank.” I don’t understand that at all, and I got preeeetty mad about it. That would never happen in the states. So, we were freaking out, when thankfully a policeman showed up, but was on a motorcycle. He said that he can't do anything and left. What??! So, I call President Carrasco again, and he leaves his interviews from the chapel, and says he is on his way. That was a relief. We wait a few minutes, and then a police truck shows up. So, we had to cross a class “A”, sketchy, wooden bridge to get to where the police truck was. This bridge is 3 feet wide, and every other plank is missing. But, we get on the “bridge” with this drunk guy with a serious head wound. So, I go first, backwards, holding his arms, while Whittaker is behind him, grabbing his jacket. We get almost all the way across, and he almost faints. I yank him over, and he stumbles off, while Whittaker almost fell off the bridge. We load him into the police truck, and they’re off to the hospital. I call President Carrasco again, thank him, and tell him that he doesn’t need to come. We went to the chapel to wash up though. My hands/forearms were all bloody and nasty, and everyone in the chapel that night knew what happened because the stake president told everyone that he had to go help us rescue this drunk. So, needless to say, it was a craaaazzy night. We saved that guys life. There was no one else there to do anything, because we were in the hood part of our sector (well, basically all of our sector is ghetto), and I can honestly say that I don’t think anyone else would have helped him or even seen him. If our investigator wasn’t out there talking to her boyfriend, she wouldn’t have seen it happen, and if we weren’t there that night, we wouldn’t have ever known about him or what might have happened.

So that’s my crazy week! Besides that, we continue with the family of 4 in the glass business, and we taught them the first lesson along with the Book of Mormon. They just ate it up! The dad especially is so excited to read the BOM and his wife asks so many great questions! We have a follow-up appointment with them this week. Thanksgiving was a hit, we went to Fuego where they prepared a true American Thanksgiving meal: bread, french onion soup, turkey from Lima, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, candied yams, and to finish it off, pumpkin pie! So delicious, all for about $10. We were happy campers.

I love all of you! Thanks for your support and prayers. This week I heard a line from a song that really hit me: “Maybe success is measured best, by nothing less that our obedience.” That hit home with me for sure! It’s so very true, that my success here in the mission is measured by my obedience. That applies to each of our lives as well. I’m gonna stay faithful, stay obedient, and finish strong when my time comes.
Till next week! Take care and be safe!

Secretario Financiero
Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

PS--- Sorry about the pics, hope everyone has a strong stomach. If theres no pictures, its like it didnt happen! The other pic is of the smallest lizard I've ever seen! And then our Thanksgiving, with Elder Sowards and his comp. Yes, Sowards is doing much better. He is back to normal.

New section 139 of the D & C - LOL‏

Jordan sent this to Deb and I today.  It is pretty funny, but also says that he would love to receive letters from home.  Those that have served a mission know what letters mean.  So click on the attachment and open it up. 

This section 139 of the D & C,  at least the missionary version.  It is pretty funny.!

 This is Jordan's last Christmas, so if you can, drop him a letter or email

Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas!


Enjoy this, haha. I just translated it. :)

Secretario Financiero
Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574


Revelation given through the Elders of Israel to the Saints of the Ward and various friendships. While they were scattered preaching the Everlasting Gospel in the remotest regions of Perú, they found a number of vessels, in them containing various papyri of unknown origin. They were brought to Elder Christensen to be the translated, the following was obtained.

1-11 Family and friends are encouraged to be more diligent in correspondence to their Elders en the mission field;

12-17 Referral to the parable of the two friends;

18-28 The consequences of fidelity to choose the right are mentioned;

29-38 We are reminded that all documents should be sent promptly;

 39-42 An allegory to the promise of Malachi;
43-46 A final exhortation to everyone.

For behold, the day will come when many shall say: A letter! A letter! We have written a letter! Why do we need to write more letters?

2 O fools! Why do ye murmur? Do ye not know that there are more than one day? And thus, more than one event in said day? Why do ye think that such events need not be written?

3 Why do ye think that we having already received a letter that we should not receive another? For behold, the mission is not over yet.

4 For it has been commanded that all men in both the East and West, even in the North and South, and in the islands of the sea, that they should write letters to your missionary (My servant Elder Christensen).

5 And then the postman will say, “I will give to missionaries letter on letter, package by package, a little here, a little there.”

6 Therefore you must be constantly writing letters, for he who writes without ceasing will not be found guilty at the last day.

7 Verily, verily, I say unto you: you should not send postcards, behold, these are small.

8 Woe, woe, unto him who says: “All is well in the mission,” the missionaries have received their letter and they need no more.

9 For they have written many family and friends but have not written back. And why then did they not write back?

10 Because their hearts are set upon the things of this world and do not aspire to the friendship of the missionaries.

11 For what good is a mailbox if no letter is written? Why then, were post offices built?

12 Hear ye this parable! To see if ye derive wisdom: “At the twelfth hour of the day a Pharisee and a Publican sat down to write a letter to a missionary.

13 And behold, the Pharisee thought of many things to write, but he thought so much… he did not write anything.

14 However, he rejoiced in his heart for his good intention.

15 And the Publican, wrote during lunch, but felt guilty about how little he wrote.

16 And behold, two years passed and the missionary returned home and passed the Pharisee’s house, but visited him not.

17 And he passed the house of the Publican, and visited him, and they rejoiced together.”

18 For verily I say unto you, unto whom a letter is written, a letter is required.

19 Now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that even still you doubt in your hearts; for this, I have been asked to speak concerning these things.

20 For the one who hears the voice of truth, shall know then that one must write letters. For the voice of the evil one does not teach a man to write letters, but it teaches man that he does not need to write letters.

21 Behold, I say unto you yet again that ye must constantly write letters and do nothing without first writing a letter to the missionaries who are in the field.

22 For this is the time to remember your missionaries; yes, behold, the day in which ye must write letters.

23 And now, as it is recommended you many times, I beg you not to procrastinate the day to write your letters until the end, for behold, after these two years that have been given you to write your missionaries, if ye do not improve your time during these two years, then cometh a day when my servants shall complete their missions and
come home, where you can not write letters.

24 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, I will write to my missionary. Nay, ye cannot say this; for it shall be too late.

25 And in that day there will be many who shall say: “Elder… Elder… Did we not send a postcard in your name? And to your name a card for your birthday and another at Christmas?”

26 And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that write not.

27 A true friend can not send short letters, as such a bad friend can not send long letters.

28 And every friend who does not write any letter shall be cast out, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

29 And by their letters ye shall know them.

30 Oh the vanity and ingenuity of man! For they believe they are wise when they are not, and leave their letters to one side assuming soon to find a stamp. Behold, these will not be preserved and their letters perish with them.

31 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn to quickly take thy letters to the mailbox.

32 Do not leave thy letters on the table where the soot and moth corrupt them and where thieves read and steal.

33 Instead, place thy letters in the mailbox where neither moth nor soot can corrupt them, and where thieves do not read or steal.

34 Nor write letters like the hypocrite, using large letters that makes his letters seem to be long. For I say unto you, they have their answer.

35 Moreover, when you write thine letters, use small print, and paper large in size.

36 Therefore, he who hears these things and doeth them, he shall be compared to a wise man who sent his letter as “priority”.

37 And came the rain and winds lashing the plane, but it did not fall. For it was a Boeing 747.

38 But he who hears these things and doeth them not, he shall be like unto the fool, the letter sent by boat, and when the rains and winds battered the boat, it deflated and sank, and great was the misery of the man.

39 Will a man rob the mailbox? Yet ye have robbed the mailman. But ye say, Wherin have we robbed thee? In your letters and parcels.

40 Bring ye all the letters to the mailbox and have parcels in hand, and prove me now herewith, saith your friend the missionary, if I will not open the doors of my house and serve you a roast with salads until there shall not be room enough to receive it.

41 And neighbors shall call you blessed, because the smell the roast at a distance of a stones throw and it be a desirable thing, saith thy friend the missionary.

42 Behold, I will send the chef who prepares the food before me, so long as each who feasteth, was faithful unto me in his letters and parcels.

43 Now my dear brothers I would like to tell you all the ways and means for you to send your letters; for they are without number.

44 But this I can tell you, that if ye send not thy letters, packages, gifts and sweets and remember not your missionaries who are in the field, then ye must be cast off forever.

45 For verily I say no letter will not be received with joy, though, perhaps (for lack of time) can not be answered.

46 Oh! Remember my brethren these things I have said that ye not perish, behold, I will be waiting for your response every day until the end of the mission. Even so, Amen.

Día De Gracias‏

Hey family,

Well, this week went by pretty quick! We have been busy with a lot of stuff this transfer week. Training, the actual transfer meeting, helping ZL’s, buying bus tickets, etc, etc. So, needless to say, its been a busy week. We have had some really awesome contacts though, and Elder Whittaker and I can see the Lords hand in our lives. He seriously guides us to these people, and not kidding, 4 out of 5 doors that we knocked, the people accepted us, and we set up appointments with them. We found this family of 4 that we are so excited to teach, and we have a lesson with them tomorrow at 6! The dad owns and operates a glass business, and we have visited them before (when I was with Elder Williams), and they are so nice and are excited for our visit. The mom has been having some trouble with her legs, I’m not sure exactly what happened, but she went to the doctor and had treatment, and that has been helping her. We also knocked the door of an OLD man, who let us into his patio to talk. He is probably 90 years old, and actually knew a lot about the church. His daughter is a member, and her husband is a bishop where they live in Lima. He said that he talked to him, as we talked to him, and he said, “Cuanto quisiera cambiar mi vida…” That basically means, “I would love to change my life.” But, the thing we found out with him, is that he doesn’t believe in God all that much and therefore doesn’t believe in the Bible either. So, we are going to visit him this week again, and see how we can help him. He seemed very interested, so who knows!

When changes rolled around, an elder that was in my old sector in Juliaca, sent me a gift from one of my converts there! She sent me a gift, and my son a gift as well. It was really cool actually! This elder was saying crazy stuff about me hahaha. He was like, “Elder what did you do there? Everyone asks about you, they miss you, and you really left a mark!” Crazy, right? As we were conversing, I came to find out that her sister was baptized! Whenever we taught her, we always invited her sister to listen in, but she ALWAYS denied us. But, about 4 months after I left, she too was baptized. Way neat.

There was an INSANE storm yesterday. It was intense. The worst I've seen on the mission. It started raining lightly, then started to rain way hard. Then it started hailing and raining. The hail gathered on every patch of grass that there was, and it looked like snow! Haha. Stairs literally turned to waterfalls. The thunder was so powerful that car alarms were going off. Hahahaha. I can't really describe how crazy it was. It was like walking in a shower. We got home sopping wet, to say the least. Shoes, pants, shirt, and all. I made a video, so I'll see if I can burn it to a disc sometime. 

This week, was also Hermana Calderón’s birthday! The president invited us elders in the office up to the mission home that morning for breakfast, and then to the party later that night. Hermana Calderón is awesome. She is so good to us, and we all just love her. So, President invited a bunch of people to the mission home, and we had a party! President went all out too, he hired a band to come and play! It was just 4 people, and they played very traditional Peruvian music. One guy played the guitar, another played the charango (Peruvian instrument), another played the zampoña & the kena (Peruvian flutes), and the last one played a big drum thing. I took some videos, so hopefully I can send them off on a CD soon! But man, the culture here is so different. Everyone danced, and afterwards we had a feast for dinner: beef, chicken, pork (which were prohibited to eat here), rice, stuffed peppers, cheesy potatoes, etc. All of which was delicious. We got home at like 11:30, but man it was fun. The next day I was SO tired though, haha.

Well, I’ll finish off with some things that I am grateful for… This week being Thanksgiving and all. I am so grateful for you, my family. I couldn’t imagine my life without my punk brothers, or my wonderful parents. I’m grateful for my mission. For this time irreplaceable time that I have to learn more about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and about myself. I will NEVER forget my mission and all of the wonderful experience I am gaining. I’m so grateful that I was raised in this Gospel! What a genuine blessing. I’m grateful for the scriptures, for the word of God that we can go to daily for comfort, guidance, and peace. I’m so grateful for the freedom that we enjoy and for those who make that freedom possible, God Bless America. I’m grateful for the friends that I have, and for their great examples. I’m grateful for the beautiful home that we live in. For the support that I receive as a missionary from my loved ones. I’m grateful for the testimony that I have, that continues to grow for this Gospel, everyday. And lastly, I am grateful for Jesus. I’m grateful for His perfect example, His unconditional love, His willingness to forgive. I’m grateful that he would willingly sacrifice Himself, for each and every one of us that we may live with our Heavenly Father again. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. I’m grateful to be his representative.

I hope that each of you who read this will take some time this week to notice the things that we have, that bless our lives each day. They are all around us; it’s just that sometimes we don’t open our eyes to notice them. So let’s each open our eyes and give thanks to God for everything that He blesses us with.

Les amo a todos. Cuidense, ¡hasta la proxima semana! Besitos…

Secretario Financiero

Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

PS, enjoy the pics, sorry the shirt picture took forever to send! 
PSS, I really want the ukulele!!!! 

"So, this is what it feels like to live life."‏

Whats up gang?

How goes all back in my beloved United States? Everything here in Perú is going well. Its been a pretty crazy week. First, transfers are here! Tomorrow all of the missionaries that have had changes will be here and will be off to their new sectors. Also, tomorrow we receive 4 new missionaries to the mission, and 4 leave. Typically, it can be kinda sad, sending your buddies off back home and saying goodbye and such, but this time… not so much. This time its more of a mission purifying process kind of thing. If you catch my drift. So yeah, we’ll be training all the new missionaries tomorrow in the mission home and that means lunch! Lunch is ALWAYS delicious in the mission home. :) We’re pretty stoked.

I had my first interview with president in maybe 6 months during a Zone Conference we had this last week. It went really well. In the interview he asked me how long I have been in the office for, and I told him 4 transfers. He looked at me wide-eyed and was like, “Wow! Its really been that long?” Haha, he was pretty surprised. He also said, “Well Elder, just so you know, Financial Secretaries are typically in the office for 5-6 transfers. So, you’ll be here for a little while longer!” So, that means that I just might be here till February, with 6 transfers. That’s a total of…  9 ½ months in the office. Wow. Well, I can always ask to leave in December, so we’ll see how that goes. President is really a good guy. I've gotten really close with him from being in the office. He has gotten so much better than he was in the past. Just like me. I wasn't the best kid in the past, but I changed. And that's the beauty of the Atonement.

We have a new ward mission leader, and he returned from the mission maybe a year ago, and is the bishops son. He is a good guy, and is really excited about helping us out. So we’ve been out with him visiting families and getting to know the ward better. There was a family we visited that said they haven’t had the elders in their house for 8 years! That makes me sad. So, were really trying to get to visit all of them, and get all of the recent converts back in the chapel. Were aiming for a 100% retention rate of recent converts.

Mom, I really haven’t been thinking about what I would like for Christmas! I cant really include that right now in this letter! I need to think about this in depth. So, maybe next week? But don’t worry about the pants, its not a rush. So, if you send off the package in November, you’ll be golden.

All of the office elders are: Elder Rogers, Elder Pastrana (Colombia), me, Elder Whittaker, Elder Cevallos (Ecuador), and Elder Ramos (Guatemala). Me, Roger, and Whittaker are all great buds. Every morning we get a good workout going, so watch out Bridge and Eth! I am impressed with your benching though, not bad at all. Were just gonna have to wrestle when I get back to see who's the strongest.

(I don’t know if you’ll want to include the following in the blog, it’s up to you. Elder Sowards says its fine.)

I cant believe about those two elders in Texas… and in Porters mission! Goodness, that’s gotta be hard. I can’t imagine that. But, we had something happen here with Elder Sowards from AZ that blew all of us away. To make a REALLY long story short, he lost his memory. They took him to the hospital, and he was really in shock. He didn’t know where he was, who he was, where he lived, and he couldn’t even talk! For a few hours he lost his ability to speak in English and Spanish. Well, President decided that he needed to be here in Cusco (he was in Abancay at the time, a zone 5-6 hours away) so that they could run tests on his brain, etc. So, I get a call from President right as we are going to a meeting, saying I need to send a large amount of money to Abancay so that Elder Sowards can be ambulanced to Cusco. (by this time, he was back to normal with all his memory, ability to talk, etc.) ASAP. So, we dropped everything, I ran to the office and sent the money to another missionary that is there in Abancay. He gets to Cusco that night about 1am, and they start doing tests, scans, you name it. They did a CAT scan, blood tests, etc, the whole thing, but everything turned out normal. He however, cannot remember the events that happened that day. There was a point when he talked to Elder Rogers on the phone, and he asked what his name is, and Sowards just sat there for a few seconds then started blurting out random numbers. “Four, six, one, nine, seven, three, two, twelve… “ Yeah. He was kinda crazy. But he is here in Cusco living with us, and is normal. The scary thing, is that the doctors are completely baffled. They don’t know what happened, and it could happen again. I think that if it happens again, he might be sent home to have him checked out there. So keep him in your prayers! We hope that everything turns out all right.

I got a letter from Eric this week! He sounds like he’s doing well! He’ll hit a year and a half here in a few days! So weird. And Devin is home!!? Goodness… That means that Joe Favero is back in just a couple weeks or less! Right? Wow. That blows my mind!!! Anyway, so everything else is going pretty good! How are the girls doing? (Harly and Roxy) I do miss them a ton! I’m still bummed about Boston running away. :( I remember picking him up with Ashley when he was just a puppy so long ago!! He was a good dog. I’ll miss him. Bridger and Ethan, just one more year until we can hit the slopes! It's gonna go by so fast.

I love you all, and I hope that this email finds you safe, happy, and just loving life. Life's great here in Cuscotopia, and I love it that I’m a missionary! I’m loving every moment. To quote Jimmy Needham, “So this is what it feels like to live life; so this is breathing air for the very first time. The Son of Man, he came here to give life, and in return He’s asking for mine.” He is asking for mine now, and I'm giving Him my all.

Till next week everyone. Stay safe, and keep smiling!

Secretario Financiero
Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

I attached some pictures, you’ll see the one of Elder Sowards in the hospital here in Cusco. Another of Floridas Natural Orange Juice, yes, I found that here! And, one of me and some flowers a little girl in my ward gave me. And, the last one is of me and that same little girl just from a few months back, so you can see her. She always gives me kisses on the cheek, haha. She’s ADORABLE.

Ps. Eric, if you read this, send me your weekly emails son! I mean, if you can. Love you bro, sending a letter this week.

Pictures from Jordan

December 5, 2011


Hey gang!!

How is everyone doing? Hope everything is going well. Thanks for the few emails I had! They always lift the spirit. It has most definitely been a fast week. Pretty crazy how time flies. I am doing much better, except for one thing… I cannot sleep. I don’t know why, but I wake up during the night maybe 3-5 times. It’s taking a toll on me too. It’s been going on for maybe a month, but I haven’t said anything. I’ve talked to President Carrasco, but he doesn’t really know why. Yeah, I might be stressed a little bit with the office and just getting everything done on time, or it might be because we haven’t had many people to teach, I don’t know. But it can be pretty hard to wake up at 6:30 on the dot sometimes. I do it, even though every fiber in my body commands me to rest more. Any suggestions? I don’t want to get addicted to sleeping pills either though.  And it’s a lot easier for Bridger because he actually has a GYM he can go to! AND he can take protein and other supplements. Am I not right Bridger?? Haha. I’m still working out every day, but its just not the same as the gym. Oh well, I guess we’ll just see when I get home. I would appreciate however, a pre-workout supplement… Maybe something like NO Explode, or… heck, I don’t even know what they have now. Just a thought!

So, Leonel should be coming up to visit this week! I am so happy that he is baptized. He expressed to me some struggles that he had been passing through these last few months, of the which I won’t mention, and its been really tough for him. But I know that he will be such a faithful member for the trials that he has passed through leading up to his membership in the church.

We received a record number of references yesterday! 6! I know it might sound like a low number, but I nor Elder Whittaker have received that many in one day. A bishop from Lima was visiting in Cusco, and he found us and gave us the reference of his cousins family that lives here in Cusco. One of them was with him at church, and they are interested! Another was from my recent convert, Anthoni. He has a co-worker that he says is very interested as well. And so on and so forth. To say the least, we had a very very good day yesterday.  :)

One thing I want to include in this email, is a lesson I learned this week. I have talked a few times about the Santa Cruz family, the family in our ward that is super poor. We have continued to visit them, and to strengthen their family. Just the other day, their grandpa Fidel, passed us as we were sitting on a curb waiting for an appointment. (SUCH a faithful member. At church every week 10 minutes before it starts.) He stopped and we talked for a little while and said how much he appreciated us visiting him and his family. I want this to be clear. This man does not have a job. He works at his humble home, fixing things here and there. He never asks anything in return. We sat back down on the curb as he walked up the hill towards his home. Not 30 seconds after he had turned the corner, he yelled, “Elders!”, with something in his hand up in the air. We got up and started to walk towards him. With his arm outstretched, he gave us 2 little chocolate bars that he bought from the street corner store. “Here ya go!” he said with a big smile on his face. “See you next Sunday!” This family struggles from meal to meal, and he went out of his way to buy those two little chocolate bars. My eyes watered up as took the bar and mustered, “Gracias.” I was just speechless. Whittaker and I just sat there for a couple minutes, both knowing that that money just as easily could have gone to buying a few eggs for dinner, but no. Instead, he’d rather give what he has to us. I ate that little chocolate bar that probably costs 30 cents in the states with so much gratitude. I will send a photo of him next week if I remember. But this man is a Quechua native, and doesn’t speak much Spanish. He is probably something like 70 ish years old, and is so nice. He always hugs us and speaks a real fast sentence in Quechua before speaking in Spanish. I love the man. So charitable. SO. Whittaker and I got brainstorming and he thought of an idea… We want to help this family out with Christmas this year. Kind of a Secret Santa type deal. But, we can’t do it alone obviously. I don’t want anything for Christmas. No packages, no candy, nothing. I just want to help this family have a wonderful Christmas. So, I really don’t know how we could work this out, but I know that Elder Whittakers mom would be 100% in. So, mom, give her a call, and maybe get the ward involved? I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here. Let me know what you think! I can get you a list of everyone’s names, age, whatever you need, let me know.

Dear Elder still gets to us here in the mission, just so you know. You can send those for FREE! Just pick the Perú Cusco Mission. Dad, I haven’t gotten any emails from Grandma Christensen as of now. I don’t know if maybe she has the wrong address, or what. But I don’t get them. And congrats to Grandma Carlton!!! That’s so exciting for her! She is leaving SO soon! That’s great though. I’m so proud of her.

Well, that’s all that’s going on as of now. Today for P-Day, a few of us are going to hike this HUGE mountain in Cusco. We’re stoked. Sweet pictures are coming next week.

Thank you for all your support and prayers. It means so much. Take care, and be safe! 

Secretario Financiero

Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

"Cause I know to live you must give your life away."‏

¡Hola familia!

Okay, so first off, this week was a lot better than the last. Even though we still don’t have anyone with a baptismal date and didn’t have many lessons, it was better. Sorry for not writing in the morning, I was pounded with work. (Ha, that sounded funny.) But really, that’s how it always is on Mondays. So, if you don’t get an email every now and then on time, don’t worry, it just means I’m working hard!

I feel like there’s so much to talk about! Where to start… So, yesterday was Whittakers birthday!! Big 21… Crazy that that’ll be me in just 5 months. Wow! I actually hadn’t counted until now! That’s way soon. We were invited to WAY more food than we probably should have eaten, but it was all reeeeally good. We had a typical Peruvian plate called, “Bistec a lo pobre” which consists of fried meat, usually like a thin steak-type meat, a fried egg, grilled hot dog, rice, potatoes, etc. That was followed by “rocotto relleno” which are huge, meat/vegetable filled peppers with a lot of rice and something called “yucca” which is a root, put in the oven. AFTER that, we were invited to cake at a member family. After all that, at 7:30 we had a dinner appointment with yet ANOTHER family. She gave us spaghetti and meat sauce, and afterwards a “tres leches” cake. It was really good, but walking home yesterday night, I almost puked like 3 times. Oh, and Whittaker was egged. Gotta love the birthday traditions here! Be aware boys for when I get home…. Hahahah.

I got a very interesting phone call on Tuesday… I was surprised to say the least. You might have to go back to my letters sent while I was in Juliaca to remember who I am talking about, but Leonel called me. He had news that brought tears to my eyes. He was baptized on Saturday. I couldn’t contain my excitement!! I almost yelled, haha, but what made the tears flow was when he told me that he wants to be a missionary. Oh my goodness.. I hadn’t been that excited and just so filled with joy for quite a while. He said, and I quote, “Brother Elder, (yes,  and sometimes they call us: “brother missionary elder!!” hahaha) I just can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me. For introducing me to this way of life. For helping me in the darkest time of my life. I wish you could be here for my baptism, but I want you to know that I want to follow you in your service to God and be a missionary.”  He just turned 21, is done with ‘college’, and he wants to serve a mission. I can’t quite find the words to describe my excitement.

This week, I have been extra grateful for everything that we have at home, and just where we live. SO many things have happened that have just opened my eyes ever wider to the fact that a lot of people here have… Nothing. We went to Merli’s house, the sweetest little girl that we baptized a month or so ago, and we brought some soda to share. How I wish you could be here to see how they live. They live with dirt floors, paper walls, tin roof, etc. You get the point. But when they saw the soda, their eyes opened up wide and smiles spread from ear to ear. My heart just broke. We are so blessed that we don’t have to worry about what we’ll eat for our next meal.  But they do. I couldn’t imagine that. But still, they are some of the happiest little kids I’ve seen. They have absolutely nothing. What a blessing! To live with what they have, and yet be so content and happy with life. What’s worse is that their parents are inactive. Yet ALL the kids come to church on Sunday at 8am. They have a daughter that is 15 or so, and she has to be the mom, and help all the rest of them get ready for church, and be there on time. Her birthday is today, but we’re going over tomorrow. We’re going to buy her a cake to share with all the other little kids and her parents. Believe me, we’ve tried so hard to get them to church, but the dad is just impossible. The mom however says that she will try next week to come and attend with her kids. I just went over there to tell them that were coming over tomorrow, so that’s why I’m even later to write. But talk about an amazing bunch of little kids, right? Count your blessings.

Sunday we had 7 converts all in the chapel. That, is a great feeling. Some are missing, but wow, it was probably a first for me to see that many at once. In fact… get this… a couple of my converts are diggin on each other! They always come to church and leave, together. It’s cute, really. Hahaha.

Anyway, things are going a lot better. I love this gospel so much! I know that I had a bad week last week, but it got better. A lot better! Thanks for all the support you show me, I couldn’t thank you more. Theres more I would like to say, but I gotta get home! 

In the words of the good band Relient K, "Cause I know to live you must give your life away." That sums up this email.

 Have a great week everyone. ¡Los amo a todos!

Secretario Financiero
Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

La Conferencia General‏

Yo familia, 

How is everyone doing? I hope the weekend was great! I thoroughly enjoyed conference. I always look forward to it. Its crazy that its already over! Done with my 3rd in the mission. One more left. We were able to watch it here in the office online, seeing that we unfortunately didn’t have anyone that was able to attend. I loved it though. I especially enjoyed this conference and felt like I needed to hear a good chunk of the talks. A few that stook out to me: President Uchtdorf’s Saturday AM talk, “God is aware of us”. Carl B. Cook´s Saturday PM Session, “It’s better to look up!”. Jeffrey R. Holland’s Priesthood Session talk was amazing. Robert D. Hales’ Sunday AM Session talk, “Wait upon the Lord”. Tad R. Callister’s Sunday AM Session talk, “The Book of Mormon”. Also, I enjoyed Elaine S. Dalton’s talk about how to raise a girl! Hahaha, I know it sounds funny. But hey, I’ll probably have a little girl in the VERY distant future, so I might as well take advantage of the knowledge now! :) But, all in all, I found a lot of comfort, inspiration, and personal revelation during this session of conference. Definitely loved it. I love this gospel so much. This church is true, I can’t deny it. Boys, I hope you listened up in Priesthood Session, that the Lord needs TENS of thousands more missionaries that are worthy, willing, and ready to serve Him in the future. Prepare yourselves now! Kazuhiko Yamashita said that every young man should bring 3 things with him on the mission: 

1. A desire to preach the restored gospel. 

2. Have a strong testimony. (i.e., Book of Mormon) 

3. Love others. 

Bridger, you’re next up to bat big guy! Prepare now, so that when your call to serve comes, you will be ready and willing to leave on the mission. Ethan, you too can prepare now by gaining a testimony for the Book of Mormon, and going to seminary. You both will learn so much in seminary. I loved my teacher, Brother Woodbury. He was always so happy and had an amazing testimony of this gospel. He was one of the motivations for me to serve a mission. Make the decision now, if you haven’t already, to serve a full time mission. I love you boys and will behind you every step of the way. 

We are continuing the work here in Cusco! We had two baptisms this last Friday, and they were confirmed that same day. They are Wendy and Alexandra, the two little sisters of Lisett. We have been trying to really work with their family, and help them. The dad is still a little far away, but he is coming along. The bishop is really helping us with him, and gave him a hard cover triple at his daughters’ baptism. Little by little, he will come to recognize the truth. 

We have some good news here in the office!!!! The new assistant is….. Drum roll please…. ELDER ROGERS! That’s right, haha, we are all so stoked for him and he is pretty stoked as well. He is such a great missionary and friend. We are gonna have a lot of fun. 

We all in the office finished with 9 baptisms for the month of September. We completed our goal, and 9 has never been done in the office district before, so we went out to eat. We went to a rodizio grill called, Señor Carbón. It. Was. Awesome. All you can eat meat. We literally ate more than 100 soles worth of meat. And that’s A LOT. You pay 40 for the all you can eat, and are you ready for this…? I gained 3.5 kilos after just that lunch. That’s right. I prepared, and I conquered. Now its gone though, I paid for it that night and the next day. Got kinda sick, pero vale la pena!!! 

Anyway, yes I met Egglestons parents, but their luggage was lost on the way from the US to Perú. Ha. Go figure. The guy at Delta told them that they would have the luggage today, in the morning, but I haven’t heard from them yet. I did get the huge hug from his mom, from you!! Thank you for that! His parents are such a riot, hahaha. They took us out to dinner last night, and we found a small Mexican restaurant. It was pretty decent, but nothing like Costa Vida. Hopefully I’ll get the camera and the salsa soon!!! 

The weather here is fine. It’s not super hot during the day, and gets down into the 40’s at night. So, it’s not too bad here. Tomorrow all the noobs will be entering, and we will be training them. Its always fun to train. Without fail, everyone asks, “How much time do you have in the mission?” It feels good to say more than a year. It’s crazy to think that I’m becoming one of the “old guys” in the mish. I love it though. I know how the mission runs, and how everything works. Its SO different than from when I entered in Puno and didn’t know anything. Oh, the last change, a missionary from Argentina gave me a letter from Bryson! Bryson is ALSO the financial secretary for his mission in Resistencia! Funny right? Man alive.. El tiempo está volando…. Demasiado rapido! 

Anyway fam. I love you guys a lot! Thanks for all you do for me. I appreciate all the support. Heed to the words of our prophet and his apostles. I know they are men called of God. Their mission is to help the rest of us gain our salvation in the kingdom of God. I am so privileged to be an instrument in His hands here in Perú. I love this country, this work, and being a missionary. Keep in touch!

Secretario Financiero Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861 
(51) 084-242-521 
RPM #623574

Happy Halloween!!‏

Hey family!

How is everyone doing this week? Hopefully well! Right now I am with some members from California that live here in Cuscotopia! I'm even writing on a MacBook! It feel really nice to be using a mac after 14 months! (Tomorrow!) He invited us to lunch, so I don't know how long I'll be able to write before we leave.

Anyway, we have had a lot of good things happen this week, I'll try to touch on the highlights. 

Well, to start off, my really nice/favorite Tommy Hilfiger tie that you sent like 3 weeks ago, was stolen! Cool. Someone literally went into my room, then the closet, and just snagged it. That really made me upset. I dont know who has it, but if you could send another one... I would appreciate it? 

A couple weeks ago, I got bit on the bee-hind by a German Shepard, and it ripped a big hole in my grey pants. So... Maybe you could send another pair of pants? But if you can, find some slim pants, because all the ones I have feel really big around my legs, and they get caught on fences, doors, or mud. So, I think if you go to like Old Navy, or maybe another place, you could find some! And, it'll be cheaper.

So, probably the highlight of the week would be that Leonel, my investigator (now member) from Juliaca, came to Cusco to visit! My son, the missionary I trained, who is also here in Cusco, was able to go on splits with me and we went to meet him in our chapel. It was so great to talk to him again and to just talk about the experiences that he had after we had left. He expressed to us just how much he was grateful for what we had taught him, and to introduce him to this gospel. He told us that he as well wants to serve a mission and that he is about to start preparing for it!!!! ALSO, that another one of my converts in Juliaca is preparing for the mission as well!! Holy smokes!!!! I cannot tell you how happy I felt in that moment. I felt probably the best that I had in my mission up until now. I can't tell you how great it feels, to know that my time in Juliaca wasn't wasted. Just knowing that there are people that I have helped and that they even are wanting to serve a mission... makes me feel like my mission itself, is a success. BEST FEELING EVER!!!!

So, this week has been really fun. My comp and I have been thinking about going to Machu Picchu on the 19th of December. What do you guys think? Oh, and its 100% sure that I will be here until the 27th of December. This change ends on the 15th, and the next ends on the 27th of Dec. So, I will have to start thinking of who to recommend to president for my replacement. I will give him 4-5 names, and he will choose from those. Pretty weird to think that I almost have just one more change in the office!  Time really just flies here. I wonder where I'll go afterward!?...

Okay, well I don't have much more time, and I don't have anyway to get pictures attached to this email, so I will be sending some a little bit later. (If I can.) I love all of you so much, thanks for everything! I hope you have a great week, and tell the boys that if they say they write me every week, its a lie! Haha, well, see ya later!

Secretario Financiero

Misión Perú Cuzco
(51) 984-503-861
(51) 084-242-521
RPM #623574

Oh, ps. Funniest story this week. We got into a taxi, and told him where we were going and stuff, but he answered in kind of a choked up voice... So, we didn't say anything just got in, and sat down. It didn't take us long to figure out that it was the soap opera he was listening to on the radio is what was making him cry. Hahahaha, it was so great. Wiping tears from his face and trying to not let us see. Best taxi ride ever.