Catching fish in Peru?
Last week Joe went with Jerry Prince and Rob Merrill fly fishing. Yes, Rob was going to go my himself up in the Andes and asked if they wanted to go with him. They were delighted to accept the invitation. They left at 6:30 am, the three Elders with the driver, Jerico. It was a very long hard drive up the carratera central towards Huancayo and then splitting to La Oroya. We had already passed the summit at Ticlio, 4840 meters or a little under 16,000 ft. The picture is of them at the sign identifying the summit. At that altitude, Joe was light headed and Jerry had a headache, just aren’t used to that altitude. They drove along the river and down to about 13,000 feet and drove a little way off the main highway to a beautiful area where they tried their luck without luck at fishing. However, they did go fly fishing in Peru and for the headaches, nauseous stomach, very windy and twisting road and curves, passing truck after truck after truck on a very treacherous mountain road, Joe says it was worth it.
Catching the Spirit in Colombia
Saturday, we met with six brothers from different areas of Colombia and I would say of all the meetings, it was the most successful for several reasons. All the men stayed at the InterContinental Hotel along with us which was really nice. We had a meeting room with no added expense and we were served refreshments. Then for lunch, we merely went downstairs to the poolside buffet. It was a fabulous lunch, and then back upstairs for the remainder of the meeting.
L to R: Eduardo Pastrana, Gabriel Aloya, Diane and Joe, Wilington Franco, Alvaro Rodriguez, Miguel Rincon and Carlos Puruncajas
I wish I had the right words to describe this particular meeting. I don’t know exactly what it was but I believe it was the inspired counsel from Elder Montoya to make our meetings more of a council meeting. This meeting truly was fruitful and productive. Different brethren had prepared various topics but mostly introducing and leading a discussion. Everyone was engaged, had questions, and contributed valuable information and experiences. I was truly amazed. We, Diane and I, began the meeting with Diane sharing her experience about family history and her sweet testimony. Again, I was so proud of her. She is getting better and more and more confident and less afraid to make a mistake. There is definitely a gentler spirit when she is present. The morning sped by. We were catered to which was so nice and then at noon we went to lunch. I stayed behind to spend a little time with Eduardo Pastrana. I had been sensing for some time that he was disillusioned or the very least not engaged. I had a feeling that he thought I was disappointed in him. As I spoke with him, the Spirit of love and peace gently settled over us and he opened up and shared his deepest concerns. I felt the love of Heavenly Father for this dear man. Just listening to him and understanding his personality was a great blessing. The lesson I learned was to not jump to judgement. We were ready to release Eduardo but I had told Elder Montoya when he asked me that I thought I needed to speak with him one on one. I did so at lunch and then following the meeting also. I believe he truly wants to serve and actually does a very good job. I felt so much love for him. He is a doctor and I had mentioned Diane’s challenge with her eyes and cough. He gave it some thought and before we left had given me a prescription for her and even emailed me the name of an LDS woman dermatologist.
I truly felt the Lord’s hand in this meeting. One of the things that I loved is that I took some time and actually taught from the scriptures, shared some stories, asked some questions. Teaching, something I truly have been missing but just didn’t realize how much. I know there was a spirit of edification when even my sweetheart made a comment at the end of my little presentation. She had understood nearly every word and, even though, she was unable to express herself in Spanish, her comments in English and my translation to Spanish were guided by the Spirit.
We now have three Area Auditor Assistants, in addition to the 35 Assistant Area Auditors. They help us with training and country meetings. One helps in Bolivia and Peru South, another for Peru Central and North, and then one for Ecuador and Colombia. These brothers help Joe with the endless email demands to answer questions, train and conduct these country meetings. By the time we leave our mission, we will have finally figured out how to run this program efficiently.