Monday, March 23, 2015

Week #8 - a bit late

It seems that with our ever-increasing workload, as we become more known in the mission and try new methods to promote and advance Historia Familiar, that we end the days after 10pm dead tired.  We've discovered that our old heads can absorb only so much Espanol each day before they just won't take any more, then we shuffle off to sleep - and the blog doesn't get updated.  With a little time Monday morning (our nominal P-day) I wanted to update our activities this last week.

 We were invited (actually we lobbied for the invitations) to speak to the High Councils of the Inti Raymi and Cusco stakes about Family History, and to ask for citas (meetings) with each of the High Councilors to help them with their History, and to set examples as leaders.  Our 2 meetings with the Councils have resulted in 19 follow-up meetings, and so we are really busy getting around to them all, plus our usual schedule of family meetings.  In this meeting of the Cusco HC, our scheduled time was delayed, so the Elders who would usually be with us to translate, had to leave to be back in their apartments by their designated curfew, so I just gave it a go with my limited Espanol.  My speaking was broken up in fits and starts, but I managed to get the message across, and the brethren were so patient and helpful.  Hna J snapped this photo when I turned for help.  Lucky her, she just got to sit and watch me squirm.  The language is coming slowly - very slowly for us, but we just keep working at it every day.

 Hna J and some sisters working on Family Search at a Family Home Evening.  Next to her is the esposa (wife) of one of the Bishops, and with her are her "adopted" daughters - very close friends.  We are always amazed at what we can find on Family Search, and how much information and work the members enter about their families.

 One more in a long list of delightful families we have met here.  Felix is a single dad, and he does an amazing job of raising his 2 kids:  Uripe, his daughter beat my quite handily at checkers - we have a scheduled rematch.  Joe is a fantastic young artist.  We love this family, like all we have met.

 When entering information into Family Search, I find its is easier to let the Elders "drive".  They are almost always more adept at computer skills than I am, and they love to do it.  Here, Elder Schumacher is transferring family information from Hna. Miluzka's "Mi Familia" folletto.

 There aren't may places in Cusco that are level, as this set of steps prove.  There are usually streets winding their way up from one neighborhood to the next, but the steps are the "shortcut", with homes on either side. 
 Hna. J and the Elders have made it up to Obispo (Bishop) Santos' home, and I stopped to take a few pictures.  OK, I admit I used the photo op for an excuse to rest, but my bag does weigh 24lbs with all our gear in it, so I had an extra load to pack up the steps.

 Our hike up the stairs was worth it, when we got to meet Obispo Santos' family.  His father is 86, and lives very close, so he came to review some of the family photos and tell about his family.  The memories and experiences of the older generation are captivating and precious, and part of Family History is to record and preserve these so they won't be lost.

 The next visit was back down the hill and a few blocks away.  Hna Sandra had gathered her daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids to meet with us.  We were treated to some of the delicious local pan (bread) that is baked in a large, round, flat loaf, with topping.  The drink was a new taste treat:  It is made from lima beans:  They are toasted, ground, then mixed with hot water, a little milk and sugar.  It's about the best use for lima beans that I an think of.

 We get around everywhere in Cusco by taxi!  I can give pretty good directions to the taxi drivers, but the Elders, especially the Latin Elders, can usually negotiate a better rate.  Here, Elders Black and Murillo are giving directions to our next stop.  The car is a Suzuki Alto (sub-sub-compact), and when the 4 of us plus the driver are in, it's cramped pretty tight.  Hna J. gets the seat next to the driver, and the 3 others squeeze into the back seat.  We have had some crazy taxi adventures with extra-large Elders and steep hills!  The taxis are cheap, a typical fare is 5 Soles, or about $1.75.  The minimum fare is 3 soles ($1.00), and we have paid as much as 10 Soles to go the length of the city.  The taxis do charge more when it rains - hey, it's free enterprise at work.

 When our last appointment didn't answer the door, Elder Black tossed some pebbles at the 2nd floor window, and we finally got their attention.  It's a fairly common way to let people know we have arrived, when they live on the 2nd or 3rd floor, and don't have a doorbell or dog to bark.

 Some of the families we meet don't have many family records or photos, and other have a LOT.  We went with Sisters Gonzalez and Hill to meet a family, and we had a delightful time learning about their family from the extensive collection of photos they have - their collection was started by their grandfather.

 Here's how we feel about the missionaries and people here.  I took this photo to include in a PowerPoint presentation we use.  The theme is "turn the hearts of the children to their fathers", from Malachi.  The Sisters gave me the email addresses for their parents, and I sent this photo home to them, so say "thanks" for sending such dedicated and capable young women out to help the people in Peru - and us.

 There are many excellent restaurants in Cusco, and last week we went to lunch with the Hasler's.  Time for a photo of us before we started eating.  The lunch included spicy peanut mashed potatoes, shrimp, chicken - and - llama.  The lama was great, it had a flavor like very good venison.

 My bag contains several technological marvels that are essential to our work, including a battery-powered printer.  The smaller kids (and some of the adults) are fascinated by it.  One little girl asked"  ¿hombres pequino escribir?  She thought there were little men inside, writing very fast.  It makes great photos in 4x6 and 8.5x11.  The photos are a great gift to the families, many of whom have few or no photos of their families.  We go through lots of photo paper and ink, but it's a joy to create and share photos with them.  Double-stick tape is also a big hit.

 The cutest little boy in Cusco.  He was sitting on the steps eating an ice cream cone while his mother tended a kiosk.  I couldn't resist a photo.  The wool hat is typical from this region, and they are hand-made from sheep or alpaca wool, in colorful patterns.

 Since I'm losing weight with a better diet and lots more exercise, it's time for a new suit.  Elder Hasler knows a local tailor who is excellent.  After this custom measuring, we went up the street where Hna J picked out some very nice wool fabric in light gray pinstripe, plus enough extra in another color for an additional pair of pants.  One more fitting when it's partially completed, then it will be done in a couple of weeks.

 Walking up the street, the Hasler's met some friends they have known since the young lady was a small girl.  A happy reunion, and they paused for me to take this picture.  Note the frames E. Hasler is holding, he is a very accomplished artist, and was taking these frames to get canvas stretched on them for his next works.

Final fitting for my new suit.  Can't wait until it's finished.  I'll pose for some fashion pics when its done.

I'm still behind on our blog posts, but it seems like we're either preparing, traveling, teaching, studying - or else dead tired.  We love our mission, but it is work.  This is what we wanted to do, rather than some cushy gig in a Visitor's Center.  We love the people here and the missionaries, and we hope that we're helping.  From the response we get from the people we meet and work with, it appears that we are, and that is very rewarding to us.


  1. qqq12345767890qwetrtyuiop barrett
    ^^^ barrett typed that himself, including his own name! We looked at all these pictures together :)

  2. You are brave to give that presentation...Mike never would have done it. He wouldn't speak unless his Spanish was perfect and it is hard to progress with that attitude. You two look good and wow! a new hand tailored suit. Beau did that in Chile but he needed a wife to pick out the fabric because he came home with a green suit that he rarely wore.

  3. I came across came across your blog and have enjoyed reading it. My son elder Denham is currently serving in calca there in your mission. We got to meet elder black just before they both went out 6 weeks apart. Thank you for being great examples of senior couples dedicating their lives to the gospel.

    Jamin and Betsy Denham