Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Feliz Navidad 2016

Has Christmas really come and gone already? We had so much to look forward to, and now it's all just memories. We celebrated three Christmas missionary devotionals: Huaraz, Chimbote and Trujillo. We watched videos from home with teary-eyed missionaries, and I guess we shed some tears too. How emotional to see the video our kids put together for us! We were ready to pack up and go home after watching it. We came back to Virú Thursday to attend two chocolotadas with chicken & rice, chicha, hot chocolate and Paneton. Friday Distrito Virú put on a Christmas talent show to outdo all talent shows with traditional, Spanish and modern dancing. People kept asking me to video their dance, so I videoed several and posted them all on Facebook. The missionaries acted out skits, and my favorite was about the angel who came late. They acted out various scripture stories including Abraham sacrificing Isaac, Daniel in the Lion's den and Laman & Lemuel beating up Nephi. Each time the saving angel arrived just a minute too late, so Abraham wound up killing Isaac, the lions ate Daniel and Nephi died. Sounds gruesome, but it really was cute to see Elder Weller the angel look sheepishly at his watch and go, "Oops!"
Saturday, Christmas Eve, Noche Buena, we attended a baptism for a family of three in Chao. They performed the ceremony at a chakra outside of town. Pretty cool to be out in fields of fruit trees including bananas, oranges, mangos and ciruelas. The baptismal font had cows on the edges and kids waiting to jump in for a swim. A most memorable Christmas eve! Sunday we enjoyed a one-hour Church service, then skype calls from all our kids, plus a visit from two missionaries to use our Internet. Meanwhile we coordinated various messages between moms and missionaries to help them connect for their Christmas calls. Also we called a few missionaries who had no one to call home to, and wished them a Merry Christmas from their Grandma and Grandpa Whitney. What a fun Christmas!
Monday we gathered our missionaries in Virú for a Christmas picnic. We made them meat pies with beef and barbeque sauce, veggies with ranch dressing, and brownie ice cream sundaes. Fun & yummy! When they left to play soccer in the hot sun, we opted to go home and crank up the air conditioner. We're counting on our little a/c to help us survive the next three months of summer.

We're on our way to a baptism! 
While I led the music, it seemed like a perfect time to take a picture.

Can we go swimming yet?

Elder Velasquez baptizes one of the three.

Day after Christmas picnic in Virú

It doesn't take much for us to have fun!

Elders Rokovitz & Alarcon eat dessert first.

Happy Birthday, Hermana Navia

Feliz Cumpliaños!

Oops, the angel arrived late.

Raul is such a skilled dancer!

All styles of dancing

 Everyone loves the costumes.

Charming dances

And beautiful dancers at the talent show!

Andre looks so handsome dressed up.

They danced their hearts out!

Imagine dancing in such heavy costumes in the summer heat. 


Little girls everywhere love dressing up.
Guillermo's delivering all this Paneton to his special shop in Virú's Christmas street mall.

Hey, we're both wearing shades...Selfie!

Talented missionaries perform at the devotional in Trujillo. Peruvian Santa costumes are interesting.

Hermanas in Trujillo

Pollo a la brasa

Finger lickin' good

They sang their hearts out!

We're on our way to the devotional.

Bring on the Paneton!

Paneton comes from Paneton trees, right?

Elder Velasquez didn't make it to the devotional in Chimbote. 
So much talent on display!

Hermanas in Huaraz

Children perform in the Plaza in Huaraz. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Adios y Bienvenidos

Another change week: they seem to be getting closer together! Our hearts ached saying goodbye to this group. We've known them a year and a half, and it seems like forever! The new group is small but dear totaling three elders and one hermana, two from Argentina, one from Colombia, and one from Peru. Our week also included a combination wedding and baptism with the sister missionaries in charge. First we gathered at the Virú Pueblo church building for the marriage ceremony, then we headed to Virú Puente to use their font for the baptism, then it was back to Pueblo for the celebration. Fun time with chicken and rice, desserts and dancing. I learned to huayno dance...those sisters are so patient with me! We left at 9:00pm, but they may have gone on all night! We spent time Monday with the Pulido family. They taught two missionaries to make lomo saltado and a dessert called souffle. Another fun time with another patient sister!

At the wedding

Hermana Silva takes a selfie with Elder Whitney and Hermana Navia. 

Look at those darling twin boys walking their mom down the isle, the absolute highlight of the entertainment! 

Hermana Pulido teaches Elders Silupu & Greer to make lomo saltado. 

And he's pouring out the souffle

Elder Greer even did the dishes.

President Blas demonstrates the family vehicle. 

Count em: 1, 2, 3, 4.

It's parade time again. 

Look at those handsome devils!

Hurray for Hermanas at Concilio!

And hurray for Papa John's pizza! 

The zone leaders agree. 

They think pizza's the best party of the meeting. 

Though they don't say it out loud. 

After such a lengthy training, they've earned the pizza! 

Welcome Hermana Taco, Arequipa; Elders Salas & Luna, Argentina; Elder Dala, Colombia.

With Hermana Taco

Farewell Hermanas Vidal, Ecuador & Merchan, Colombia 

So cute in her Sombrero! 

The farewell group: Elders Muñoa, Alcazar, Contreras, Ortiz, Rivera, Volquez, and Hermanas Ashton, Vidal, Merchan.