Friday, July 31, 2015

Weeks #28, 29: Work, Followup, - and Conferences

One thing that always keeps our work interesting - no two days are ever the same.  Our work is focused toward pushing our Historia Familiar calling ahead, but there's always a new twist, new people to meet, new places to visit and work.  Here, Hna J is waiting in front of the Santiago capilla for a meet with the elders.  If we're a little early, it's a treat to just stand on the sidewalk and watch the city.  You never know what's going to come by.  Just down the block there were a couple of guys taking a shower in the street from a hose after spending all day in hard labor mixing and hauling cement up a building they were constructing.  We've started to put some focus on this area of town.  The leaders and the members are very warm and welcoming, and love to see us.

 If you've got a motorcycle and a wagon, you just weld them together and you have a motorized cart to tote your goods (or family) all over town.  Even better when you have an assistant to ride along.  The Peruvians are nothing but clever and enterprising, and can use anything they can get their hands on to to help their business, and give them a little break from manual toting and lifting, of which much is still done here.

On a detour through one of the local markets on the way home, we were looking for some nuts and fruit to make a mixed snack bag for our next trip.  Came across this dried, self-aborted llama fetus for sale right next to the raisins and cashews, and stuck in a bag of small potatoes.  It's supposed to have some mystical medical properties, but I'll pass, and just stick to stuff that we know won't make us sick.            
The missionaries are some of the biggest fans of Historia Familiar.  They are allowed 1 hour per week to work on their family history, after they have 1 hour to send and receive emails to their family.  Some of them need a little help to get started, get oriented, and figure out how it works. Elder Salas just had an exciting experience - he got an email from home with some clues and ID numbers for his ancestors that were missing from his family tree.  With a little work, we located them, and printed them on his fan chart - some out to 6 generations.  In case you're wondering where the Angel Moroni is, he's a missionary in Peru, with the last name of Salas.  Some of the members here give their children names that relate to Bible, Book of Mormon, or Church History names - gives them quite a legacy to live up to - especially for Alvin Joseph Hyrum Sanchez Quispe.  Elder Salas' companion is Elder Mann, a descendant of Anson Call, whom we found out several great pioneer stories about, he was a contemporary and friend of the early church leaders, including Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor.  Quite a surprise to Elder Mann to find he is the legacy of so much heritage.

We get to meet so many wonder people wherever we go!  They quickly become our "favorites".  During a Sunday family history meeting (2nd hour, during Sunday School) at Barrio (ward) Santiago, we got to meet Neyssy and her daughter Brunella.  We were so busy during that our that we didn't get all of their family history information - and pictures - entered, so we made an appointment at their casa (home), way up on the side of one of the Cusco hills.  As we started to enter the family information from Neyssy's Mi Familia, I was sure I recognized the names, but I couldn't place them.  After a while, I realized they were the same as we had seen in a family from Urubamba.  Then I realized they were from her mother, Luz Marina.  Turns out that Neyssy had more information that we were able to update both accounts - and - her sister lives upstairs, who had even more information and pictures - what a treasure trove.  Neyssy was especially close to her bisabuela (great-grandmother), who died when she was 12, and has always felt a special connection to her. 

Old photos are always our favorites, and we're always happy to take digital photos of these precious memories and upload them to, as well as provide a new print for their albums.  Here's a photo of Neyssy's great-grandmother (as a young woman in traditional dress).  She just had her bis-abuela's temple ordinances approved this week, and sent them to the temple to be completed.

An important part of the follow-up from the Huancaro Feria a few months ago is processing and distributing the referrals we received.  Quite a job to quickly get 1151 referrals out to the missionaries.  The Church has a new software program that is linked to a global map system, so with the address (and it is surprisingly good at locating them, even with the convoluted address system here), name, and cell phone number, we are able to "drop" them right into the missionary sectors where they live.  The program then sends an email to the individual missionary's LDS mail account with that information, and we can then monitor the progress.  President Harbertson authorized us to use the young missionaries for data entry in shifts, and with the help of about 30 of the missionaries in Cusco, this information was entered and distributed quickly.  Hermanas Arroyo and Vitola are some of the most proficient, and got a lot accomplished during their shift.

Hermano Valentin finds his grandfather!  He's one of the liveliest and funniest of the old men we have met here.  He's always got a joke or a quick comment.  He and his lovely esposa are among the stalwarts in Barrio Santiago, and it's a delight to visit with him.  We were able to find some information about his bisabuelos, and change the yellow box (visible on the right) to green, and have temple ordinances approved.

Hermana Liliana is the specialista de Historia Familiar in Barrio Santiago, and the daughter of Valentin.  She's just as quick and lively as her father, and sometimes its a little challenging to keep her on topic, but she is very helpful to the members of the Barrio, and always recruits a room full of people for us to meet with.

Two sets of elders are assigned to the sectors in Barrio Santiago.  Our plan is to "cycle" through the Barrios in Cusco, so we spend about 3 Sundays in a row in a Barrio, so we have a chance to meet with those who are interested, and then fill up the weeks with additional appointments.  After a Sunday meeting block, we took a minute for a photo with these fine elders:  Pena, Mann, Zerillo, and Salas. 

The Peruvians love to parade and march, and there always seems to be an event for which they gather in the Plaza de Armas and parade around - singing, chanting, and shouting.  This event was for a protest/commemoration for 2 local politicians who were shot - except that event happened 35 years ago, the perpetrators were never caught, and they have become martyrs of a type.  Any excuse to get off work and march around is a good one.

This picture shows that you're never too old to do Family History work.  In fact, some of the older people are the best source of family information, since the records here are so sketchy and sparse.  Hermano Rigoberto is proof of that.  He's really old (at least older than us), but is very sharp and intelligent, and he had a notebook full of family information that - with the help of Elders Mann and Zerillo, was able to help us understand it to complete 4 generations of his family's ancestry - going back to the early 1800's.

Elder Juan Uceda of the 1st Quorum of Seventy made a multi-zone tour through all the Mission.  He and his lovely wife were delightful, and we were able to attend several meetings with them.  Each of the missionary zones posed for a picture with the Ucedas and Presidente and Hermana Harbertson.  I did't include all of the pictures, but here is one of "our" zone - Inti Raymi.  We know and work with all of these missionaries frequently.  This is one of 4 zones in the Cusco area. For this meeting, the zones came from as far away as Puerto Maldonado, Abancay, Andahuaylas, and Sicuani.

All of the remaining mission couples are based in Cusco, so we got an opportunity for this group photo:  Richard and Julie Hasler, ourselves, Presidente y Hermana Harberson, the Ucedas, and David and Cindy Rhoades.  These couples have become our close friends and mentors, and we love our association and work with them.

This wraps up a couple of weeks.  Next week we're off on another adventure, this time a return trip to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon jungle.  Puerto is one of Hna J's favorite places, as it's warm and humid, a real contrast to the high/dry/warm-cold of Cusco.

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