Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving?

We were invited to a big fancy gringo Thanksgiving at the Trujillo North mission home! As it turned out though, we spent the day in meetings with Elder Uceda when he came to Virú, so our feast was spiritual only :) Not to brag, but I enjoyed two long visits with Sister Uceda on two separate days, yes a real general authority's wife! Now we know all about each other's kids and grandkids, and especially about Sister Uceda's 200 nativity scenes from around the world! They were all on her iPad. One time her little granddaughter gathered up all the baby Jesús pieces to play with them. Her parents quickly scurried them back into place before Grandma knew, but she could tell...imagine a Japanese baby in an African nativity, or an Apache baby in a Cuzcoan nativity....
Yesterday we presented our primary program in Nuevo Chao. As my experienced primary president, Megan, advised me, the kids got serious and pulled it off. We spent our primary lesson & sharing time singing songs, reviewing parables, and drawing pictures of them on the chalkboard. After a quick lunch, Ken went off to more meetings with President Rios and Elder Uceda while I rested. At choir practice in Puente the district president jumped in with his leadership, and then the district primary president took charge of the Burrito & Cholito songs. She preferred the Motab versions and took on the challenge of teaching it to everyone. Wow, it was awesome! Meanwhile my two helpers signed people up to read the scripture parts between songs. This was truly an answer to my prayers to somehow make this easier for me.
After choir practice, two elders took us to visit a family in Victor Raul. It was our second time there, and they're fun to visit, Mom, Dad and a 17-year-old son. We challenged them to get married so they could get baptized. She didn't take it well, but we'll see after they pray about it for a while.
Today's Monday, our real day of rest!

All dressed up to see Elder Uceda!
Peruvian babies are so cute! 
We took Herman Rosa to the temple for her first time. 
Baptisms are such a fiesta! 
And so much fun...
Group photo
Hot picarones...better than Krispy Kreme

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cholito Jesús

The choir's Christmas program is really coming together with the addition of Peruvian Christmas songs. "Cholito Jesús" tells the charming story of how Jesús was born in Peru. It was a humble birth while Joseph played the queña, a Peruvian flute. Meanwhile shepherds came bearing gifts of wheat and quinoa. And Mary and Joseph drank, what else, but, chicha! "Mi Burrito Sabanero" describes the story of riding on a donkey to visit baby Jesús in Bethlehem. I have a group of children singing both songs, and they're so cute. Now if I could just get them to dance together between verses....I did get them to swing around with me, but so far they're too shy to do it on their own.

Click here to sing along with Mi Burrito Sabanero
Click here to sing along with Cholito Jesus

Other happenings this week include welcoming new missionaries, rehearsing the Primary Program, rehearsing a Primary musical number for Elder Useda, family home evening with a fun family that included 3 generations and a literal family tree growing up through the front room, teaching temple preparation to someone and making plans to attend and escort with her Friday. One of her questions was about a dream she had where she was all dressed in white and didn't know why... Tomorrow Elder Useda, President of the South America Northwest Area, will be here for two days of visits and meetings...Wednesday Trujillo, Thursday Virú. Wednesday afternoon we're planning to attend the temple with the Huaraz missionaries. This will give me a chance to visit with some of the sisters I've been staying in touch with. Meanwhile we're settling in our new missionaries in Virú. We've had so many changes this transfer that out of 16 missionaries, only one pair stayed the same...and us of course. We don't expect a change! So we're helping these new missionaries feel more at home with luxuries like hot water in their showers and pest free mattresses and apartments, or at least pest reduced.

Welcome new missionaries...notice the pyramid of rice on each plate.
Welcome sisters...hurray for hermanas!
Tamales rolling out of their banana leaves
Elder Hernandez plays by ear with lots of improv...I think he needs an electric guitar.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Feliz Cumpliaños

How many birthday celebrations does it take to add up to 62? We certainly had plenty this past week. Such fun amid the week of changes, saying farewell to the departing missionaries, and getting ready to welcome the newbies! Plus Sunday I spoke in church, and we decided to put together our primary program for the end of November, and Sunday night we had our first Christmas choir practice. The turn out was so grand that we had to seat everyone in the church benches instead of the choir seats. The plan is that we will take our Christmas presentation to the Plaza de Armas in each of the local pueblos...a regular Motab fantasmagoria, Peruvian style. It will be so much fun!
Tres leches cake with Inca Kola at Zone Meeting 
Fiesta with Elders Miller, Norton, Millet & Arévalo 
Elders Miller & Arévalo celebrate a successful six weeks together. 
Love that tres leches!
Elders Anderson, Rivera, Stephens, Cruz & Maldonado 
Private party between Sunday meetings with chocolate brownie Sundaes
Glad I'm not sick anymore
Sunday night at the mission home
Hurray for Hermanas! Is that a photo bomber? 
Dreaming of Jurassic Park
Dreaming of more birthday cake
Elder Stephens loves birthdays!
Parable of the sheep and goats...but we like goats!
Guillermo & Susana at their store
Yes, Elder Anderson, there is a Santa.
Santa??? Elder Volquez wants to see him! 
Romantic ride in a moto taxi 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

R & R

Everyone needs some rest and recovery from time to time, and that's what we've been doing this week. Ken took good care of me, and even cooked some soup. Our favorite neighbors surprised us with a tableful of gourmet delights, plus Inca Kola Zero. We strolled through the market to splurge on our favorite Peruvian fruit. All in all we should be ready to rock and roll again next week!

An absolute gourmet!
Is it Panettone? No, wait, even better it's Inca Kola Zero!
With neighbors like these, what else could we want?
This is our favorite grocery store, Guillermo's. He's got everything!
Of course you want to buy some celery!
How did this truckload of cornstalks fit down the market on a crowded Saturday morning?
Yummy fresh fruit from this morning's market. Can you read the label on the orange? It's not Arizona.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day of the Departed, El Dia de los Difuntos

Here in Virú, they just don't do the dress up for Halloween thing. Instead they take November 1st and the nights before and after to honor their dead. Since we live next door to a cemetery, we've been able to watch the steady stream of people pouring off the buses and combis at the bottom of the cemetery hill. They close the roads close to the cemetery to help with traffic, so as people get off the buses and combis, the vehicles have to back down the way they came. Instead of flat headstones, they have little houses so they can put food in there to honor their dead. After dark they light fires at each grave. Maybe it's to keep warm all night while they wait to see if their departeds make an appearance on the earth. And people sell food all along the road to the cemetery. Our neighbor makes picarones with chancaca, that's fresh donuts with molasses syrup...yummy. People stop and buy food along the way to put inside the graves. 

Up close, the graves look like little houses.

This is how our cemetery looks in the day.
This is how it looks at night with fires lit by the graves. 
No, please don't let Maité take my phone, again.