Monday, January 15, 2018

Week 58 - Jaime and Jovita, & did someone say eat Monkey and Alligator?

Buenos Dias!!

This has been a great week here in los Baños del Inca. This week we had a real fun opportunity to have a family home evening with Jaime and Jovita Diaz in our Stake President, President Barbosa’s, house.  We focused on the theme of how we can support the burdens we have here on Earth that appear in our families, our work, our school, among many other situations. God gives us challenges so that we can learn and progress. If we never had any type of problem that needs solving we would never need to learn and we will not be following our Father´s plan which is to be tested here on Earth. How can we have a test without any challenges? Everything that happens in this life, whether it be when we get stuck out in the rain here in Baños or when someone shuts a door on us, everything that happens is for our spiritual wellbeing. These challenges can help us learn and progress if we know how to take them on well. The key lays in 3 simple tools God has given us. These tools are prayers, scripture study, and church attendance. If we do these three things all the while having faith in Christ, we will be able to take on any challenge that presents itself and be able to us it as an opportunity to learn. It is awesome and so simple. Prayer, Scripture Study, and Church attendance. 

In slightly less spiritual news tonight we have a family home evening with a member of the ward who is from the jungle. He recently traveled to Iquitos, his home town, and has brought us back some alligator and monkey to eat. Awesome right?!?!?! Wish us luck tonight 

Well this has been an awesome week here in los Baños del Inca and with a little bit of divine help this coming week will be even better. 

Elder Vassau 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Week 57 - Elaina, Milgros & Diana; 3 hours in a bus to the mountains of Celendin

Buenos Dias!!!

This week has been pretty awesome. The week started off a little bit slow with  lot of doors being shut on us but when ever there is a challenge all one has to do is keep working hard and the blessings will come. For us the blessings came on Thursday when we went to teach Elaina Diaz and her family. Her, her daughter Milagros (12), and her daughter Diana (20), all have accepted baptismal dates for the 20th of January. That being said we have had  difficult time teaching Diana because she is always working. This Thursday we were teaching the Plan of Salvation to Milagros and Elaina and right as we are about to invite the family to come to church with us, Diana walks in. She quickly took a seat and we ask, "This Sunday will you guys attend the church with us". We barely finished the invitation and Diana just about fell out of her chair screaming "Yes". She then proceeded to turn to her family, who had been  little quieter in this moment and said "well it looks like I will be attending alone". It was pretty hysterical to witness. Diana then went on to explain to us, that without us inviting her to do so, she had talked with her boss and told him she cannot work on Sundays so she can attend church. How awesome right, the Lord really prepares people to hear the Gospel and when these people receive the message they just want to follow it. It is something inside that just guides everyone to do what is right. Well the whole family attended, Elaina and her three children and it was just awesome. This week in church we were blessed to see three different families attend, Elaina and her family, Jovita and Jaime, and the Estela Medina Family. God truly loves the family. 
This week Elder Zapatiel and I traveled to a small town about 3 hours outside of Cajamarca to conduct a baptismal interview and have interchanges in this town called Celendin. The Elders from Celendin are a little bit isolated from the rest of the world but it was so much fun travelling to proselyte with them in what is  bit more of Peruvin countryside. They serve in a small branch which has an attendance of 25, 7 of which are investigators. Well the bus ride through green windy hills, basically in the clouds was super beautiful and the people of Celendin are amazing. In Celendin the ancestry is northern European so you will find lots of people who have light skin, colored eyes, and different colored hair. They call them Shilicos, so we fit right in. The people there are so humble and receptive to the gospel. We were able to teach 11 new people in just one day. They were practically just inviting us into their homes. It just goes to show that yet again the Lord prepares people to recieve this message. 
In other news this week was transfers and not a lot changed. They sister missionaries in our district closed their area so now it is just the 6 Elders, and now we have permission to include the Elders from celendin in the district meetings via skype.... wooooooh.... hahaha.
Well all is awesome here in los Baños del Inca. Until next week. 

Elder Vassau

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Week 56 - Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Feliz Navidad & Feliz Ano Nueuvo!

This has been a great week here in Los Baños del Inca. Monday was Christmas where of course... we played soccer, and yesterday was New Year's Eve, where of course... we fell asleep before being able to see any fireworks. The mission is awesome  This week we had an awesome apointment with little Milagros, Percy, their older sister Diana, and their mom Elaina where they all accepted to get baptised. It's awesome. This week we have been working a lot with the family of Jaime Diaz and his wife Jovita Huaripata. They are super awesome and have testimonies of the truthfulness of what we teach, the problem is that they are not married and a couple that is living together cannot be baptised without being first married. Both of them would be willing to get married however... they this year have had a lot of challenges in their relationships. Although neither Zapatiel nor I are marital nor relationship masters, but what we do know is the Gospel of Jeus Christ which can help us with whatever challenges and problems we have. We have been visiting them with various couples from the ward here in los Baños del Inca who can testify of the blessings that come when we apply Gospel Principles as the center piece of our family. It is just so amazing when a family can share the same purpose and cause of following the teachings of Jesus Christ. This week we read with Jaime and Jovita a document published by the church called "The Family: A Proclamation to the World ". It explains the importance of the family and marriage to God. Our Heavenly Father has put us here on Earth in a family for a reason and it is because it is one of the best places to learn. It is also one of the places where we can experience the greatest blessings that our Father in Heaven has prepared for us. That being said it is also something that can present lots of challenges and sorrow when there are problems. It is our job to help keep the family together and in the paith of following Jesus Christ. If we do that, although challenges will always present themselves, we can find the peace of mind that only our savior can offer. Hopefully Jaime and Jovita, applying things such as the family pray and scripture study, can fix the problems they have currently, get married, and take the first couple of steps to enjoy a family that can be eternal if they are willing to follow Christ together. This week has been awesome and I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year and a delayed Merry Christmas. 

Elder Vassau

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Week 55 - Christmas in Peru

Feliz Navidad!!!

Today was a wonderful day, topped by being able to speak with my family!!!  As a missionary, we are only allowed 2 video calls per year (Christmas and Mother's Day) so it made today even more special.   It was awesome getting to see everyone and to catch up personally.   What a special Christmas Day!

This week has been amazing here in los Baños del Inca. This week was Christmas and it was an incredible and spiritual experience. It was full of us visiting people and trying to sing Christmas carols, sharing messages about the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, and especially lots of Paneton. It is delicious. It has really been a treat helping people to remember about the birth of our savior Jesus Christ and remember why we celebrate this holiday. Christmas here in Peru is a bit different but when someone feels the Christmas spirit it really does not matter what part of the world you are in it is something real special. I wish everyone a merry Christmas back home and have a happy new year. 

Elder Vassau

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week 54 - It's beginning to feel a little like Christmas (and Rainy Seattle)!!!

Hola de Peru!!!

This has been one of the most fun weeks of my entire mission. Here in Peru Christmas and therefore Christmas activities are in full swing (despite a large portion of Peruvians who do not celebrate Christmas). This week started with a great family home evening Monday night where we enjoyed some delicious chicken ceviche. Ceviche is a super famous Peruvian food that is raw fish that is served after "cooking" it with nothing but lemon juice. I have heard it is quite delicious but as missionaries we are prohibited from eating it considering it is raw chicken. That being said we are allowed to eat chicken ceviche which although is cooked and is not fish it is still delicious.

On Monday night after our family home evening we got a call that President Calderon was coming up to Cajamarca to teach a zone training and host a zone wide Christmas dinner in a member’s house! Well my dear friends the elders from the distant Celendin branch (about 3 hours outside of Cajamarca) came and stayed with us all week as we enjoyed the various activities president had planned for us. Tuesday we had our interviews that we have every transfer. Then on Wednesday we had our zone training which was amazing. President taught a lot about the importance of having faith in whatever we do. If you do not have the faith that something is possible than you yourself are causing it to be impossible. It was an amazing and incredible motivational training, but the highlight of the week was our Christmas dinner with President Thursday night. All 22 missionaries from Cajamarca came to a member’s house in the city to share a dinner and Christmas festivities. We started off with some great Christmas music and President and his wife had bought a Christmas president for every missionary. After sharing Christmas presents President invited us all to watch a Christmas movie with him and the family (as missionaries we do not watch movies). It was crazy awesome. We watched the classic "It’s  a Wonderful Life" and I think everyone was dying of laughter and nearly brought to tears by the end. I think everyone was a little over emotional at the whole idea of the Christmas night and breaking out of the norm of the missionary routine to celebrate Christmas. After the movie we shared a nice Christmas dinner with Turkey. Turkey in Peru is a food that you only eat at Christmas. It was awesome. We also shared some special Peruvian hot chocolate and the famous Peruvian Pantone before returning to our areas. It was awesome to enjoy a true family dinner with the other missionaries and celebrate Christmas.

To make the week even better the ward had their annual Christmas party this past week where we witnessed a hilarious talent show filled with lots of Christmas themed skits and sketches. To top off the week today we went to a super cool rock forest here in Cajamarca where there are tons of cool rock formations, caves, stones carvings, and every an Incan sacrifice table.  This week was full of lots of fun and exciting activities but I think the very best moment of the week was seeing the Estela Medina family attend church with us yesterday. The family consists of the mom (Marina), her two sons (Arturo 20 and Victor 19) and her daughter (Diana 17). We have been teaching Victor, Arturo, and Marina for a few weeks now, and yesterday with the help of a member who owns a miniature bus the whole family accompanied us to church and loved it. This week we are going to teach them about the plan of salvation so that they understand that God wants their family to be eternal. Pray all goes well. 

Well this week has been amazing and this coming week is Christmas which gives us just that much more of an excuse to talk to people about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all he does and has done for us. The littlest we can do to show our thanks is to share his love and message with everyone else. Christmas time is truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

Elder Vassau

p.s. My room is now decorated with a little Christmas tree and lights to help us keep the Christmas spirit going. Also big thanks to the best family in the world for the Christmas package 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Week 53 - 1 year Anniversary, Reategui Family & Milagros

Buenos Dias!!

This has been an awesome week here in los Baños del Inca. This week we visited a super awesome family and reference from the Reategui family. The Reategui family is super awesome. The husband, Pedro Reategui, works for a humanitarian organization from the U.S. called Aguila Condor. His wife, Melisa is a nurse who helps businesses with health standards. The two of them together run a community center/food bank for children here in Baños called El Bichito. They are just awesome and this week with Melissa and Pedro we visited a 12 year old girl named Milagros, who attends el Bichito, and her mother Elaina. They have had their fair share of economic challenges in life and Elaina is practically a single mom raising her 4 children here in Baños. Well we went to visit this family and it went amazingly. Elaina used to be super religious but over the past 20 years, because of various challenges, has really distanced herself from God and any type of church. Elaina and Milagros were super excited to recieve us and Elaina was saying how it is not a coincidence that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has come into her life at this time. It is really quite amazing to see their disposition to come unto Christ. Her daughter Milagros (12) and Percy (7) are just the sweetest thing. After our second visit with the family, after Percy explained an encyclopedia's worth of knowledge about prophets, Milagros offered the sweetest prayer asking for God's help to find his true church so that they can follow Christ as a family. Her prayer I think brought tears to the eyes of just about everyone that was present. The family is awesome and they not only attended church this week and witnessed a beautiful primary program, a presentation put on by children, but they also have accepted a baptismal date for the 6th of January.  No better way to start a new fresh year than to get baptised. Sometimes God puts challenges in or life to prepare us for future blessings and that is very well what has happened with this family. Every challenge is an oportunity to learn and grow as children of God, to be more like Jesus Christ. Super awesome right?!?

Well this has just been an awesome week here in Los Baños del Inca (so called not because they are the bathrooms of the incas but rather there are thermal hotsprings here that the Inca/emperor used to bath). Last monday as a district we went to visit some small waterfalls in my area at llacanora. Despite the mosquitos eating my legs alive it was super rad. Here the rainy season is in full swing and we enjoy nice sunny mornings and rain or occasional downpours in the afternoon. It is pretty awesome here. 

Well I love you guys lots, until next week. 

Elder Vassau

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week 52 - Banos de Las Incas, Rain like Seatte!

Buenos Dias!!!

This has been an awesome week here in Baños del Inca (BTW in English this means Baths, NOT BATHROOMS of the Incas after all the hotsprings in the area). It is a bit of a change from my experience in Milagro. I miss Milagro dearly but I am so excited to work here in los Baños del Inca. Here things are much cooler with lots of rain, greenery, and lots and lots of cows. It is pretty funny actually.

The climate here is a little colder and from reputation the people are a little more reserved as well. This week we have spent most of the week visiting all the members here in Baños del Inca. Missionary work is never done only by the missionaries, rather it is a team effort with the members and the Holy Ghost. If the missionaries and members are working together diligently they will have the spirit with them and will be able to find all those people that our Heavenly Father has been preparing to recieve the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The members here are so cool. We pension with a sister here in Baños named Maria. By chance she happens to be sister Lila's (my pension in Milagro) aunt. Her husband goes by the name "Coringo" and is hilarious. Always trying to rob our stuff and talk about himself in the third person. It is pretty hilarious considering he is also the second counselor of the bishopric here. To say the least when we go to pension it is a very interesting experience. 

This week we have been working hard to contact and find lots of new investigators. We were looking over something called the area book this week, a record of past investigators, and we found a super cool family. Jaime Diaz (31), his wife Jovita, and his son Hans. Jaime has a brother who suffered a super severe motorcycle accident a couple of years ago where he broke his femur and was bed ridden for 2 years. This brother of his found the missionaries one day and after a few months got baptized, while he was still bed ridden. This same brother despite his slight cripple is now serving a mission in Paraguay. All of these happenings inspired Jaime to meet with the missionaries. About a year ago he was meeting a lot with the missionaries and was attending church regularly but what happened is the missionaries got transfer and the new missionaries lost contact with Jaime. Well after months without communication we made contact with Jaime who is now super excited to once again learn about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and attend church. He is super cool and attended the church this past sunday with his whole family. I know our Heavenly Father has been preparing him and it is no coincidence that we have found him after so much time. 

Well this week has been awesome here in Baños and in this district we are going to start working Miracles. Miracles come according to our Faith and Righteousness. If we make sure to always work with faith and righteousness God will do the rest in our lives. Another awesome, rainy, beautiful week here in Baños, and this next week is going to be that much better. 

Elder Vassau