We were asked to present family home evening for the missionary couples for the month of February. They asked us since we are the "newly weds" of the group. We decided to do something differently and began the evening with a potluck variety of finger foods and pastries. Sisters Burton and Raeside helped with the decorations, bless their hearts. We then gathered in the large auditorium where all our big meetings are held and Elder Burton began by singing a song from Elvis, "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You". He has been a member of the Tabernacle Choir so it was really good even though he really hammed it up.
Joe presented a short lesson on the "patriarchal order of the Priesthood" and how the PH in the church is vertical and different than the PH in the home which is horizontal. Diane conducted a wonderful and fun activity that we called The-Not-So-Newly-Wed game". She did a fantastic job of identifying the questions and being the hostess. Everyone had a fun and entertaining time. We closed with a very tender little church video, "Enduring Love." We really did enjoy our time with our dear missionary couples. They loved the evening and so did we, BUT we are glad it is over. We felt the spirit together and delighted in the love and tenderness that each couple has for their partners. We are so blessed to be able to rub shoulders with such a wonderful group of brothers and sisters.
For our little Valentine get-away, we spent the night in downtown Lima at the Sheraton Hotel with our good friends, the Murrays. We had dinner at a real authentic Mexican restaurant which are very rare here in Lima with enchiladas, burritos and nachos!
In the morning, after a delightful full buffet breakfast, we took a taxi to the City Center, the government palace, the Cathedral of Lima, Convent of Santo Domingo and Convent of San Francisco. The government palace is like our White House where the President lives and conducts the affairs of the country. The changing of the guard was at noon which included a full dress band. The guards posted at the palace stand at attention for shifts of two hours, in the sun or rain. Pretty amazing.
We caught the tail end of a street parade at the Plaza de Armas giving a festive mood with music and dancing. The sailors were handsome young men, the Amazonians nearly naked with one holding a large boa snake, and the colorful highland Peruianas liked to have their pictures taken.
Cathedral of Lima
Originally built in 1535 has been restored three specific time periods after major earthquakes destroyed the underground vaults. The last restoration was in 1940.
The main alter used for mass is in the middle surrounded with pictures of eight other chapel alters within the church. There are a total of 14 side chapels. Since the Catholic religion believe in one trinity, in order to pray to the Father one needs to go through an intercessory or Saint. All these chapels are dedicated to different Saints. The alters are made of wood painted to look like marble.
Top right is a room dedicated to Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire. He was a bad man and the wall mural shows slaves being shipped to Europe. The pictures in bottom right are his remains which were found under the alter of this church. They were verified as his before DNA testing by the damage to the bones as he was beat to death. The white Christus is ivory elephant tusks from the 1600's and the other is made with wood from Italy as were the carved choir chairs.
The top pictures are of catacombs and crypts under the cathedral used for the leadership clergy. There was a room discovered with small baby coffins and since it was against policy to have general people buried in the church, these came at a high price with the belief that they had a better chance of getting to heaven if the body was buried in the church. Ironic how this grand edifice is just a hallow shell and the bones that lay underneath are only dirty piles of bones.
Look carefully at the articles of the Bishops and Cardinals. The red shoes are studded with rubies and gold lace as is the hat made with gold tassels and vine. The vest is intertwined with gold thread and very heavy. The sunburst eucharist is made of gold laden with precious stones of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
We are so thankful for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know our prophet receives constant revelation for us today. After visiting the convents and viewing the religious practices of others, we can more fully appreciate the knowledge we have of our Heavenly Father and of our elder brother, Jesus Christ. We are privileged to know we can pray to our Father in Heaven and that he will answer our prayers.