Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 12 - Jerardo gets Baptized!

Buenos Dias,

This was another awesome week here in Jordan. This week I had my first baptismal service for our friend Jerardo Mendez. Jerardo is only 11 years old but the kid is such a good example of faith. It was very special to have the privilege to baptise and confirm such a dedicated young man who already has the goal to serve a mission in Seattle. Hahaha I may have helped him with the location but he always says he wants to serve a mission in the United States. He is so awesome and is already doing missionary work within his own family by holding family home evenings and scripture study... It is pretty darn inspirational. 

This week we have also been working with the family Chamaya.  They are great and love to have us over to teach and gather as a family. They are some serious characters. The dad, Luis, is a big goofball whereas the Mom is a little more serious when it comes to religion for her kids. They have 4 kids ranging from 17 to 1 and everyone is always present and excited when we come over to visit. We were teaching them about the Book of Mormon the other day and as I was holding the book in my hands I realized how happy and proud I was to be sharing this book with those who had never seen it before. It is truly an amazing testament of Jesus Christ, and really shows how God has love for all his children. Anyone out there who does not know what the Book of Mormon is, it is a compilation of scriptures that we have and use side by side with the Bible that is written by Prophets here in the Americas. It is truly awesome and anyone who wants to find out more just ask some missionaries for a copy and they would be glad to give one for free. I am so grateful to be a missionary here in Peru sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon with all who are willing to listen. 

Until next week,

Elder Jack Vassau

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 11 - Jerardo & Zoila Baptisms and a few more blisters

Buenos Dias!

This week has been so awesome here in Jordan, La Esperanza. Elder Angulo D'Leon and I have been working really hard to try and work more with our local congregation/ward here as well as the community. Our theme for the week is Optimism. This week has been so much fun and we have seen a few miracles as well. Along with the great there were a few hardships including being a bit sick to start the week, and going the past couple days very blistered hands from some of the service we did this week involving lowering buckets of rocks three stories using just a bucket and some rubber cord. That said we have been so optimistic this week. My dad sent me a Lesson by a former president of the church that has been my backbone all week. I am going to attach a part of it here. 

"President Gordon B. Hinckley’s mother, Ada Bitner Hinckley, often said that “a happy attitude and smiling countenance could boost one over almost any misfortune and that every individual was responsible for his own happiness.”1 His father, Bryant S. Hinckley, also had an “inherently positive outlook.”2 President Hinckley recalled, “When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: ‘Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.’”3 Influenced by his parents’ counsel and example, young Gordon Hinckley learned to approach life with optimism and faith.

As a missionary in England, Elder Hinckley worked hard to follow his parents’ counsel. He and his companions shook hands each morning and told each other, “Life is good.”4 Almost 70 years later, he suggested that a group of missionaries in the Philippines follow the same practice. “Yesterday was a great day in my life,” he told them. “Every day is a great day in my life. I hope every day is a great day in your lives—every one of you. I hope you can get ready to go in the morning and shake the hand of your companion and say, ‘Brother (Sister), life is good. Let’s go out and have a good day.’ And when you come in at night, I hope you can say to one another, ‘It’s been a good day. We’ve had a good time. We’ve helped somebody along the way. …"

I just loved reading this lesson all week. In reality this message is so true. No matter the situation we are in charge of our own happiness. When we are cynical and get down on ourselves nothing is achieved. Just start everyday with the attitude that today is going to be a great day and finish everyday with the same attitude and the rest will work itself out.

This week Elder Angulo D’Leon and I have two baptisms. One of them is named Jerardo. He is 11 years old and is just about the most spiritual 11 year old I have ever met. Honestly it is kind of inspirational to see the things he does. Over the past 5 months since he has begun to investigate a little into the church he has not missed a single Sunday. This week I have been teaching him to direct music and he already has the goal to serve a mission (Specifically to serve a mission in Seattle Washington, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). He has been waiting nearly 4 months to receive permission from his mom to be baptized and so finally we set the date of the 25 and when he asked his mom, she said Ok. She has really seen a change in this young man’s life and he has so much potential it is crazy. Best wishes to my main man Jerardito. 

This week my dear friend Zoila Vergara began attending church again and has committed to be baptized this week. She had a baptismal date last month but it fell through. This same theme of optimism that applies to Jerardo and my life applies to her as well. She has always known that this is the path our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want for her, she is just so afraid of what her family will say when she is baptized. The rest of her family attends a different church in the area and for whatever reason they do not really like Mormons (seriously I do not understand how you could hate a group of people like that). We talked to her a bit about optimism and how she is not going against her family but rather is following the things Christ wants for her. I know and pray that her family will not be a problem and they will allow her to be happy. 

Being happy in this life is all about our perspective and attitude. If we start each day with optimism and with the perspective that God loves each and every one of his children and has a plan for all of us, our days will appear that much brighter. That is all for this week. Lots of Love for Valentine’s Day here in Peru.

One last comment – A Huge Congratulations to Tucker and Caitlin who are now officially engaged. Although he did not fulfill his promise to wait until after my mission to get married, I knew this day would come. Best wishes to the both of them and I am excited to hear more about the engagement. 

Elder Vassau

1. ELDER ADL and I at our morning soccer match
2. Playing with monkey friend Sila at the zoo
3. Llamas
4. Valentine’s day birds
5. Talking with monkey friend Sila about how he can escape
6. Creepy hairless dogs of Peru (People say they aren’t diseased but I am not sure if I believe them, they are everywhere)
7/8. More monkey business at the zoo

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 10 - Burning Houses, Plenty of Service!

Week 10 - Burning Houses, Plenty of Service!

This has been a bit of crazy but awesome week here in Jordan, La Esperanza. First of all it was the first week with my new companion Elder Angulo D´Leon. He is from La Paz Bolivia and has been out in the mission field for about 14 months. He is awesome and is going to spend the next 6 weeks finishing my training here. He has already taught me so much in his time here about the importance of befriending everyone, not always the easiest thing to do in another language. To say the least, I am SUPER excited for this transfer. Great things are going to happen here in Jordan.

Another reason this week was crazy is because there were two house fires... two house fires in our ward. So to say the least we were doing a lot of service this week trying to help these families remove all the charring of the walls and repant everything. Doing service is much fun here and it is an opportunity to meet all kinds of people that in the streets you might not have the chance to talk to. Luckily neither one of the fires were catastrophic and I think almost everything is back to the way it was.

This week Elder Angulo DLeon and I worked hard to try and familiarize ourselves a little better with some of the members of the ward here and some of our investigators that Elder Angulo D'Leon does not know. It has been a blast. Ward members can be a huge help for the missionaries in almost all aspects of our work. And I really do not mind when members offer food to us while we are walking in the streets. 😀 To say the least, the food here is amazing. Lots of rice, potato, chicken, and aji. But just saying the ingredients does not give nearly enough credit to the food here. I will try and send some pictures of some of the dishes I eat during the week. Plates such as Aji Gallena or Tacu Tacu. They are all amazing. 

This week we had the opportunity to visit some of the families with Bishop Torres, the bishop of our ward here in Jordan. He is awesome and he has a son named Arnold who always likes to acompany us. With Bishop we visited the Hermana Zoila. An older lady who had a baptismal date for last month but it fell through because she was afraid what her family would think. She is a very sweet old lady who in reality has a testimony of prayer and all the things we teach, she just needs to have the determination to follow through. Bishop helped her understand that by listening to us and our message of Christ she is not abandoning her family and there church, but rather that she is following Jesus Christ and the things she knows are true about him and his Gospel. At the end of the lesson she even accepted a new baptismal date for the end of this month!

One of the other reasons this week was a little crazy was because I caught the gringo fever yesterday.  I have been lucky that I have not had any problems with food or anything but every north american gets a little sick in the first couple months. I have actually been lucky that I was just a little sick for a day or so and that with a little help from our Heavenly Father I was able to continue to leave to serve and teach despite the fatigue. 

This week we also had the opportunity to visit and begin teaching Hermano Kevin Lecca. He is a friend of some of the members of our ward here and he loves to come to activities and participant intro barrio soccer tournament. In reality he is basically professional and plays for Universatario Trujillo, one of the football clubs in downtown Trujillo. As some of you may know I really love watching and playing soccer, so it was a blast talking to him about soccer and the gospel. Also ever monday we host a game in the morning for all of our friends and investigators which is always lots of fun. 

So much is happening here in this area. This week one of our dear friends and recent converts Alejandro Cabrera recieved the Melchezidek priesthood and we had the opportunity to teach him a little bit about it. Great things are happening here. 


Elder Vassau

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 9 – Good-bye to Elder Barboza – Hola to Elder Argulo de Leon from Bolivia!

Week 9 – Good-bye to Elder Barboza – Hola to Elder Argulo de Leon from Bolivia!

Well this is it, after only 6 weeks with Elder Barboza he is leaving for Chacope to finish training a friend of mine named Elder Guitierrez and I am going to receive a new companion here named Argulo de Leon, a Bolivian, to finish my last 6 weeks of training. Elder Barboza has been in this part of Esperanza for 9 months so I think it is about time for him to see another part of Trujillo hahahahaha, but it will be a little strange having someone else finish my training here in Jordan. Elder Barboza knew all the ins and outs of this area and I can only pray that I remember all the places and people here.

This week was another great week here in Esperanza. We had a multi zone conference which was lots of fun (see the picture attached). I got the chance to meet missionaries from other parts of Trujillo that I had never met before. It was awesome.

This week the weather was a little strange here. It actually rained... and there was wind... Everyone was freaking out hahahahahaha. But with the strange weather also comes opportunities to serve the people here... and fix their roofs. Having plastic sheets held down by bricks is only a problem for the people here when there is rain and wind hahahahaha. So we climbed up on a few roofs this week.

This week we have been teaching a 20 year old college student named Sandra. She and her friend Miguel are really fun to teach. They are both super curious and love to ask strange questions. Including about extra-terrestrials and topics like that. It is really fun teaching them how there is room for both science and God in their lives. People here think the two things are enemies where in reality they work hand in hand.

This week we also had a great lesson with Hermana Lisette.  She is always super busy with her kids but we decided to teach her about the importance of reading the scriptures this week. In our lives we are always busy and reading the scriptures and prayer often feels like something we do not have time for. However it is so important to remember when we take 5 minutes out of our day to read and pray a little, the focus of our day completely changes and we recognize God´s hand in everything we do. It is awesome. I mean as missionaries we have hours each day to see read and recognize these things but I truly know that reading and praying everyday will really change our outlook of everything in our day to day life.

Well that is all this week. All is well and my new companion arrives tomorrow.

Bye for now,

Elder Jack Vassau

P.S. Happy Birthday to Kjerstin Scanlan this week!!!