Joe is busy teaching an English class to many of our office workers and also teaching Spanish to many of the senior missionaries. As part of the challenge to read more, We had the great idea to go to the library and get some simple children’s books to pass around. We Googled for public library close to us so as not to be confused with the many school libraries dotted on the map. We found a big library close to us, so Monday we took the bus about 20 minutes to the big national library. Great idea gone awry. When we got there, we had to go through a security gate and a guard house with well-armed guards. We thought wow libraries must be very important in Lima. Joe said "maybe they have to have heavy security because of all the wild children who may try to leave with a book in their backpack." He told them we had come to see the children’s books. They looked at us kind of funny and said “well, we have a few children’s books. but not many”. They politely directed us to the information desk where Joe told them, “we have come to apply for a library card and would like to “prestar" or check some children’s books out. They smiled and politely said we could look but had to make a special appointment to do so and would be accompanied by a guard. we thought, “wow, they really love their books and want to make sure we don’t have crayons with us to color in their books. We were asked what kinds of books we were interested in and we said “children’s books”. After conversation they replied….. guess what? “We have a few children’s books but no many” It suddenly dawned on us that this was a different kind of library. Joe said, “this isn’t a public library where we can borrow books and take them home is it!” They laughed, yes actually laughed and said we could try and take them home but would be chased by about 35 policeman. This library is THE National Library of historical books and records. We just laughed out loud. Bet they really thought we were crazy gringos. Only in the U.S. can you borrow books, take them home for a few weeks and then bring them back. Not so in Peru. The few library here are only to read books at the library or use a computer. We are so blessed to have a wealth of information and books available at the local library.
The taxi picked us up at 4:30am to travel to the Lima airport to meet the new missionary couple arriving from Wenachee, Washington, Roy and Mary Merrill. They will be serving a humanitarian mission, working with five areas: wheelchair distribution, vision, well baby care, emergency response and sustainable clean water service through wells, traveling a lot to the different areas. Tuesday about 2:00, we picked up the Merrill’s to introduce them to the office staff, show them around and have them meet the other senior missionaries. We had dinner with them, along with four other couples, at Don Mamino’s. A good chance to visit and get to know them.
Thursday we were privileged to have Elder Bednar in our office for a devotional. He has been in and out of the office for two days causing some excitement, and then he spoke to us. His message was clear, “we learn by repetition!” It’s okay to hear the same conference talks over and over, to repeat the same lessons on Sunday. When all the members are paying a full tithing, then they won’t talk about tithing any more. When all the members obey the Word of Wisdom, we won’t need to hear about it anymore. He also discussed the current condition of the Quorum of the (10) J and mentioned that another four members of the Quorum are in their 80’s. When asked about lessons he had learned, Elder Hales stated, “When I can no longer do everything I have always done, then I will do the things that matter most.” We will see a lot of change in the next few years.
The same day Elder Bednar was at our office, there was a very large police eviction happening across the street with armed guards and creating quite an excitement. Turns out it was an eviction of a group of people from the premises. All their belongings ended up on the street, they were escorted out and the gate locked. No, those people in yellow shirts are not "Mormon Helping Hands". The shirts actually read " Equipo Desalojo de Molina" or eviction team of Molina. Guess this is their version of "Helping Hands". Evictions of so many people (who are actually squatters) sometimes are nasty, thus the reason for so many police.