Here we are - haven't changed a bit since 2012! We're headed to the Peru Cusco Mission for a year as the Family History Specialists.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
If you don't like the weather in Cusco, just wait an hour and it will change. It's not unusual for it to switch between rain and sunshine several times a day. Luckily, most of the heavy rain seems to fall at night. We hear it , sometimes quite loudly, but at least we're not out in it. This day we were counting down the time to our next appointment. Since it was raining, we wanted to wait until the last possible moment before dashing out to catch a taxi. With about 30 minutes to go, it started to hail! It was quite intense. The hail was about the size of peas, you can see them hitting the street. There was enough that it started to build up on the ground and cars. Everybody dashed for cover, and even the motorcycles parked and the drivers ran for shelter. With our good luck as missionaries, it stopped about 2 minutes before we had to leave, so we were spared. When we got to the other side of town, the sun was shining, and the missionaries we met said: "What hail?". It was localized just to our area.
Last Saturday (sabado), we held a Historia Familiar event in barrio (ward) Chasqui. We had good attendance, with 24 at the meeting. The room we thought we had reserved in the chapel was taken by another group, so we scrambled and set up in another room, with a TV borrowed from the mission office to show our photos, videos, and PowerPoint presentations. We made follow-up appointments with individual families to help in their HF, and will be meeting with them during the next 2 weeks. Here's a photo of Hna J with 2 of our most enthusiastic and best leaders in Historia Familiar in Cusco. On the left is Hna. Dennise. She is the Stake Historia Familiar leader, and really knows not only how to teach about HF, but she knows the technical details of familysearch.org as well. And her family is one of the most loveable in Cusco (well, if you don't count all the other families we love), but really, they are outstanding and we are so fortunate to get to know them. On the right is Hno. Meneses. He is the mission's supervisor and advocate for HF, and is the liasion between our activities in the mission and the Area office in Lima. He's an engineer, manages a lab for one of the largest medical clinics in Cusco, teaches at the University, has a great family, AND he rides a motorcycle. He also helped me get a new cell phone with WiFi, which is essential to our work here. We are amazed by the people who lead the Historia Familiar work in this mission.
This photo has to to represent one of the classic scenes in Cusco: A pair of elders walking to their next appointment. We had just finished a cita (family meeting) with them - as our human GPS's and translators. We'd never find most of the homes without their help - this is definitely not Utah with the cities laid out in rectangular grid. Many of the streets have been around since Inca times, and they go everywhere - including right up the sides of the steep hills. We jumped in a taxi to head to another appointment on the other side of the city, and was able to snap this photo before we passed them. I made copies of the photos for them, and sent emails with this photo and a nice letter back to their parents, telling how much we appreciate and love their sons for their dedicated service.
Since Hna J isn't able to hug and read to our grandkids, she does the next best thing, and reads to the families here. She keeps a couple of children's books in her purse, in Espanol, and everybody wants a story read to them. Usually I am busy on the computer trying to open familysearch.org accounts, find lost passwords, enter information, and Hna J. gets to read to wiggly little children. Everybody loves her!
We get to meet so many wonderful families. Here's obispo (bishop) Cavana with his lovely wife and 3 hijos (sons). We thought we brought lots of pictures of our family, but they have albums and albums of their photos. We were able to take digital pictures of some their precious family photos of their abuelos (grandparents) and bisabuelos (great-grandparents), and upload them to their familysearch accounts. We also got treated to some delicious hot chocolate and slider sandwiches, which warmed us up just right for a late-night walk down to a street where we could catch a taxi home - escorted by obispo to make sure we were safe.
What amazing people we meet in Cusco! This hermana (sister) is a well-known expert on local plants and herbs. She has a thriving business in educating people about their uses, and providing them with samples from her own jardin (garden). This has enabled her to travel all over the world - she has been to more countries than we have - to find new plants and discover uses for them. Here I'm sniffing the spicy odor of some yerba mate leaves I have crushed in my hand. This herb is used in a favorite drink in South America (not so much in Peru though), and has other uses as well. Hna J was not able to make this visit - resting from a stomach bug - but she will be back next visit, and this Hna. will probably send us home with some plants or roots that will help get over that type of annoyance, which seems to catch us periodically here, no matter how careful we are with the food and water.
We've found a new system that works well during our family visits! I just hand the computer over to one of the elders, and have him "drive". Elder Brown is a whiz, not only on just the computer, but familysearch as well, and we can get lots more done. Here, presidente Condori (counselor in the Stake Presidency) and his daughter help E. Brown enter family information that they have collected on pedigree charts, family group sheets - and some original family documents (birth, death, and marriage records). While we're doing this, Elder Johanson runs the camera and printer, so we get double the work in half the time. The elders are so good with technology that I'm pleased to hand it over to them, while we observe and talk with the families.
At the end of the days, we are just exhausted, so sometimes our posts don't get updated as often as we would like, but be assured that we love our work - and we love y'all and think of you often.