Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 25, 2014 Picture Skyping with Family on Christmas Morning!!!

Merry Christmas!!Christmas morning Elder Pulsipher Skyping with his brother serving in Boston and his family in the U.S

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014 Merry Christmas to Everyone

8  PHOTOS ARE ON THIS PAGE from this letter!!
Hello, once again! Yet another week has sailed right by and now I find myself writing this letter again. It’s been a special time to be a missionary as Christmas approaches here very soon. The people here in Peru are generally more receptive than usual and this week we were privileged to find some new investigators that are pretty cool. We have a much healthier amount now which is nice to have. With some it was very clear how the Lord placed prepared people right in our trajectory, but I’ll get into that a little further below. As this letter will be the one I send out before Christmas, I’ll include some of the highlights from this past week and maybe end with something a little different for the holidays.

      Last p-day wasn’t all that exciting apart from the time we spent emailing. We email every Monday morning in the church, but this past Monday after a half an hour of my hour some maintenance guys started fumigating the church (they didn’t know we were there). So we hurriedly exited and then finished our internet later in the day.

     Tuesday was another memorable day as we had 5 lessons with investigators (which never happens) and then 3 others with members. It really was a blessing from the Lord to see some fruits from our labor. I particularly like a lesson which we taught J­­­___. He did really good teaching as he connected with the person we were teaching and was able to explain everything like a member that spent his whole life in the church. It’s been awesome to see him change into a completely different person. People really can change through the enabling power of the Atonement. We also were able to finally re-establish contact with Josias and teach him after the super awesome lesson we had with him about 2.5 months ago. He really had real intent and will be baptized if he just follows the answers of the Spirit. We’ll just have to be more persistent in finding opportunities to teach him this time around. The other investigators we have gained are also really cool and have a lot of potential to progress.

     We also had 2 really cool contacts this week as the Lord clearly placed them right into our path. One just stopped his motor taxi in front of us and asked me how to pronounce his son’s English name. It was a little weird, but as we talked to him he mentioned how he spoke to the missionaries before and would love to have us visit his family. The other instance was when I went to buy my Gatorade from a little window store I always stop by, only this time after my companion asked a simple question she opened up and we were able to help her and learn that she was very much prepared to talk to us.

     Perhaps the largest happening of the week was our trip to Trujillo on Friday. We left very early in the morning and headed to Trujillo, though my pensionista was kind enough to wake me up at 5:00 a.m. and make us pancakes (I taught her how to make them). It was different being in the large city than little old San Jacinto and central Trujillo is very cool (photos attached) We spent the day in the nearby institute building practicing for the show and we got to eat Papa Johns, which made me very happy. A lot of missionaries were there including some CCM friends and Elder Coca. It was great to see and talk to them. Then that night we headed to the main plaza and had our very large Christmas show. A lot of talent was displayed with many guitars, violins, flutes (Peruvian ones), drums, and many awesome voices with the majority of the missionaries as chorus, and it even included some beat boxing and break dancing. It was quite the night. Then we headed back that night to Chimbote where we arrived at 12:30 a.m. Then we headed back to San Jacinto the next morning. It was all a lot of fun apart from the night in Chimbolte. I imagine there are a lot of pictures on my mission president’s blog.

     No before I draw this letter to a close I’d like to end with a little thought about this wonderful season. During this season we spend with family, with tree and lights, with gifts, with chocolate, with Santa Claus and everything else. However, perhaps, a seemingly distant time of 2014 years ago (give or take) on a seemingly ordinary night it was declared by a heavenly messenger “I bring good tidings of great joy (to all men)…. For unto (them) is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” From which night Christ entered our mortal world to establish his doctrine, to show us the path to eternal life, and he atoned for us making such a path of mercy and love possible within the confines of justice. It is Christ whom we ought to remember and follow always, the person who gave everything merely asking for a contrite heart and spirit ready to follow him in return. It is Christ whom I honor and represent this very Christmas season. As such I extend the invitation to “follow thou Him” this holiday season. Honor Him by getting to better know who He was, who He is, and what He did. Follow his example more fully in life, maybe we need to start from the simple things like getting on our knees. But as such a great, loving, and perfect being started his journey from the humble confines of Bethlehem, so we start and continue through the little things like humble consistent prayer, diligent scripture study, and faithful church attendance. As we do so we can remember his birth not through word only, but rather through action (faith). It is my hope that we can do so until a day in which he can say, “well done, though good and faithful servant…enter thou into (my kingdom). “ So as Christmas approaches this Thursday remember the King of Kings by living his principles, starting from the basics upward. As you do, I promise you will come to really fell that so called “true spirit of Christmas. “

     Anyway, that just about covers it all. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas this week. This will be my first one away from home, but we have some fun things planned and I bought a little Christmas tree which is something. It is a little strange how it is summer here though. But really, once again I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Be sure to enjoy it! Entonces Feliz Navidad por San Jacinto, Peru!

Elder Josh Pulsipher







P.S. This week will mark the end of this transfer so I could well be leaving San Jacinto next week.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014 20th Birthday and a Great Week

    
Hello once again from a missionary down in a little town called San Jacinto, Peru.  I hope you all enjoyed my last letter and had an equally enjoyable week.  This week has been a lot of fun as I had several meetings, saw some progress with those I teach, and I turned 20! And well, rather than having some long introduction, I’ll just skip to the chase so to speak.

     This past p-day was kind of different as we headed to Chimbote in the afternoon to practice for the upcoming show/concert that we’ll be doing for Christmas. Basically, this just amounted to having Sister Marler try to lead us through songs in Spanish and then try to lead one song in English (the Latinos had some trouble with that at first).  In my case the practice was fun and it should be a fun show with quite a few instruments.

     Tuesday was my birthday and well I turned 20!  I was welcomed to a pancake breakfast ( I bought maple syrup and mix in Chimbote) which was absolutely amazing to eat after 6 months.  Lunch was also pretty good when I got to enjoy my 1st cake. My pensionista also gave me a really cool tie and pin. After lunch our leaders told us to head to Casma for dinner and for a zone conference (they always tell us last minute). So we headed that way and enjoyed a very uplifting conference.  We just had some training about the small and simple things of missionary work, but really it is by the “small and simple things are great things brought to pass,” (Alma 37:6). Thus it is in missionary work and thus it is in the Gospel as we can progress through the small and simple things like prayer, scripture study, and attending church. It’s really that simple as we do so with true intent and a hunger to learn.

     After the conference I was welcome to yet another delicious cake with the zone leaders bought.  We then spent the night in Casma as it was late in anticipation of heading to Chimbote the next day for a multi-zone conference.  After attempting to sleep that night on some mattress, I headed with everyone to Chimbote.  The multi-zone was cool as we first talked about the video, “He is the Gift,” which I mentioned last week.  We really have been using it a lot with members, investigators, contacts, and basically everyone. Important to remember really what all the gift giving, lights and trees are all about (though San Jacinto has hardly any of that stuff).  We also talked about Alma 5, my favorite chapter of the Book of Mormon, which talks a lot about conversion, missionary work, and it has a lot of reflect questions.  t really applies to the work of salvation as we strive to help others with their conversion and getting to the temple, not just getting baptized.  After the multizone we were very fortunate to eat Pizza Hut and I was very happy as can be seen in the picture. Afterward President Marler took Elder P____ and I personally back to San Jacinto in his car which was a much more enjoyable way to get back. He went to San Jacinto to conduct some interviews with relation to the possible change in Presidency.

     As for our time proselyting, we saw some progress this week with some of our recent converts, less actives, and investigators. We had some more fun lessons with the P____family, who I mentioned last week with regard to Caledonia.  They even bought a cake for my birthday so I got to enjoy some more cake and I shared the “He is the Gift” video which really does invite a spirit of self-reflection.  Also, S___ (the daughter of D____ who we reactivated last week) was officially reactivated this week which was very exciting.  She has definitely come a long way like her mother. In my case I think this is called a reactivation, we actually call it “alma Rescatada” in Spanish so I’m not sure what to call it in English.

A couple other things happened like playing Jeopardy on Friday, enjoying a rare rainy day, and doing some service.  I will mention how we spent Friday morning helping an older lady with her huge backyard. I’ve included some pictures which only give a partial idea of the jungle that it basically is.  She has a myriad of tropical fruit trees and plants on a sizeable piece of land. We helped her rake some leaves and build a fence in her garden. I also hope you enjoy my butterfly photo which required a lot of patience.
      So that sums up the things that happened this week.  It’s been quite a week and definitely out of the ordinary. I hope you all have a great week enjoying the Spirit of the Christmas season.  It’ll be my 1st one without family, but as a missionary I really do feel a special spirit about this season as I am privileged to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I Hasta la Proxima Semana






Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 The Christmas Season in San Jacinto

     Well, it’s time to bid you all welcome from San Jacinto as I write this account of my past week.  I trust that all of you still enjoy these little emails that I’m sending out each and every week.  From what I’ve heard it sounds like these have been uplifting for many of you so I’ll keep them coming.  This past week was actually kind of normal (at least in the missionary sense of things) as we didn’t spend a lot of time traveling or meeting with the factory’s boss and there was no baptisms, and no changes in the presidency.  It was actually refreshing to have a more regular week.  The only thing that occurred outside of the ordinary was that we didn’t have church meetings this past Sunday in order to accommodate the last round of political elections.  So with that all of the political propaganda and all the things which are associated with, it came to a close.  I won’t have to worry about that for the rest of my mission!  I’ve never really enjoyed politics, especially Peruvian politics.  Anyway, I better move on before I digress more.

     One new focus which we started this week as started to enter this special month, this special season, is a focus on the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whose birthday we celebrate each and every year on the 25th of December.  What a fun time of year to be a missionary as the people’s hearts are generally a little more open.  With this the church has put out a video called” El es la Dadiva”  (in Spanish)  or “He is the Gift” in English.  I’d invite you all to watch it as it can be found on Youtube and it’s only about 3 minutes.  It is about who is the first Christmas gift and it also a little self-reflecting.  I invite you to watch it and then share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or however you like to share stuff.  It is a great time to share these things with others.  I remember that sharing the gospel with others can be a little scary, but this is a pretty easy way to share it.

     We picked up some new investigators this week which was a blessing as we were kind of in short supply.  We shared some pretty cool first lessons with many of them as the spirit was with us to guide our words and questions.  One person in particular who we met is R_____ . He was a reference by some member about 2 years ago, but the missionaries never visited him.  He has known members for quite some time, but was never invited to learn more.  During our time with him I was surprised just how involved he became in the lesson.  Truly he had interest in the things we had to share.  However, one never would have guessed that as he was very Catholic and he isn’t afraid to show it.  This just goes to show that we should put out the invitation as we might be rejected but we might find people like R___.

     I will also make mention that J___ (my convert) is doing great.  He is a quick learner and one wouldn’t know he is a recent convert as he already has the understanding of a well-seasoned member. It’s been fun to see him grow. Also, I have to make notice of Sister C_____ who is the mother of a recent convert family. She goes to Trujillo every week to do her chemotherapy as she has cancer, but no one would ever know she is probably the happiest person I’ve ever met.  Even a day after chemotherapy she’ll have the biggest smile. Her testimony is also super strong as the thing she wants most is to be sealed in the temple in 6 months time with her family for all time and eternity.  She truly is an inspiration of how we can have a positive attitude in whatever circumstances we find ourselves to be in. I really have loved working with her and her family on the path to reaching her dream.  And now that we know we will be getting a date for the temple dedication of the Trujillo temple in a week, rest assured this family will have the chance to go to the much closer Trujillo temple.

     We also gained another new investigator named C_____ who after the first lesson, which was more of an introduction, read everything we gave her and prayed.  She was excited to tell us that she felt a new peace in her life. To which we were able to explain the Spirit, and how that she received an answer from God, we then had a very Spirit filled lesson with the Spirit’s guidance. She then accepted the invitation to be baptized, so it will be fun to see how she progresses.

     I was also please to finally see D____ and her children become officially reactivated after basically working with them since I got here. They went inactive because of a very complicated situation, but it has been awesome to see them get excited again with the determination to change and to never again fall away.  And well that about sums up the things I wanted to mention. This next week will entail some traveling around which I’ll be sure to mention next week , and this Tuesday I’ll be turning 20 (finally out of the teens). So having my birthday in Peru should be fun. I hope you all have a great week and I’ll write to all of you in one week’s time. Chau!

Elder Joshua Pulsipher

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014 A Week of Changes and Challenges

                                                             
Week 26
     We now find ourselves in December as the time continues to pass by.  I am convinced that missionaries are in a different time bubble because time goes by fast. Crazy to think that this Wednesday marks 6 months as a missionary. This week has definitely been one to remember as it has memories that I’ll carry with me for quite some time. As you will see it’s been a challenging week, but it has confirmed that I am supposed to be here during this time. Also keep in mind that even though it was a hard week I kept a positive attitude through it all. I love challenges. Well let’s get into it.
     This past p-day wasn’t at all that exciting as we decided to really clean our apartment. The air here carries quite a bit of dust so our apartment had accumulated a fair amount.  However, after a couple hours everything was very, very clean. We truly felt the Spirit much more with us, and that night as we conducted our daily planning, we could really feel a difference.  Having a clean home really does make a profound difference which I know is weird coming from a former college student, but it’s very true.
     As the week pressed forward we were sad to lose 2 investigators whom we had really come to love. First, M___ who still hadn’t been able to come to church because of work, told us not to return. This was sad because she had received an answer that these things are true and wanted to be baptized, but I guess with time her energy faded.  Then shortly after we had a super powerful lesson with A___ about the Restoration, it was the most powerful spiritual lesson that either Elder P___ or I had ever had during our missions. Somehow my Spanish was nearly perfect, we were teaching in almost perfect unison and with a ton of scriptures.  I know he felt it too, but he chose to reject it. As he did we both felt the sorrow that I suppose is expressed by Mosiah 28:3, as we both got the impression that this was his time to accept it. Despite those feelings, this was a testimony builder as during that lesson I felt even more that the Restoration is true and that I was suppose to be there with Elder P____ giving A___ that situation to choose, and I guess everyone has agency.  I will make mention though that after we lost investigators, we were blessed in receiving several more that are just awesome.
     Now the hardest thing which dominated the week was the problems we had with preparing the Branch for its first change in leadership. President Jacinto had been president for 12 years (usually around 5 years), so many members didn’t understand why a change was taking place. Many were very unhappy with the change. As everything seemed to grow against us, we went to the chapel and together offered a very sincere prayer, pleading for the Lord’s guidance.  Then as I pondered, my thoughts were led to Alma 31 where basically Alma went through a similar situation.  I received very clear direction that the approach was to strengthen the members with the word of God.  We also felt the impression to give each other a blessing.  Afterward, I felt completely at peace and confident that I could help the Branch as I trusted in the Spirit. From there, we met with the members and strengthened them with reading their scriptures and inviting them to ask God about this change. This turned out to be a great opportunity to strengthen the members and find the needs of several families. It also helped us to work with the new president to be comforted through the trails of the week and to really grow.
     Finally, yesterday the day came to thank President Jacinto for his service and sustain Brother ___ as president. However, President Marler announced that the change would be postponed. So that was a little unexpetcted but we had a very edifying service in which we also had a record attendance of 65 with 7 less actives. It was also fun to see and talk to President and Sister Marler, and enjoy some of the treats they brought from Trujillo which included my Christmas package! We also finished the day with a less with D___, a less active of 7 years who has a very complicated background.  It also was one of the most spirit filled lessons I had in which we really started to form a connection with him and help him invite the Spirit back into his life. I felt that we are the right missionaries for him at the right time because we really are having progress with him and well the spirit told me.
     To sum it all up, I had a week which I’m going to remember for a while. A week in which I learned that Elder P___ and I are really supposed to be here during this time. My testimony has also grown. The mission is truly something different that changes you for the better if you let it. I also enjoyed Thanksgiving more or less with an apple pie that was good as one could hope for in Peru. Thank you all for your emails as they are very much appreciated.  I hope you all have a great week in the much colder Northern hemisphere. I Hasta la proxima semana!

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014 What My Mission has Meant to Me



click on picture for larger sized view (more photos below this letter)
     This has been another interesting week down here in a little town called San Jacinto. I guess that’s 25 weeks which is a quarter of a hundred which could be significant in some way.  I would first like to thank all of those who have sent me emails as I do enjoy reading them and hearing from all of you.  I just don’t have time to reply with more than 2 sentences a lot of times, so try not to let that discourage you. Before I get into how my week went, I’d like to express how much the mission has meant to me.  It amazes me how much the Lord does help us, as I’ve gone from a very confused Spanlish speaking newbie to a confident representative of Jesus Christ.  I have come to better recognize his guidance through the Holy Ghost.  I have witnessed and experienced the power and reality of faithful prayer.  The atonement has also become more real as I’ve seen its changing/ enabling power change lives, both my own and the people I’ve worked with.  I know that Jesus Christ completed the atonement for each and every one of us in Gethsemane and on the cross.  I truly enjoy how I can devote my time to sharing this with others as a missionary. Now with all that said, I’ll jump into my week.

     On Monday, we didn’t do all that much for p-day as we just got some time to relax. I was very happy to learn that I’ll be in San Jacinto for at least 6 more weeks.  Also, we decided to go for a quick hike to get a view of San Jacinto and you all can enjoy the attached pictures.

     We have had some really good lessons this week as we have really come to teach powerfully through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.  The one lesson which probably sticks out the most is one we had with J___ on Friday.  In the previous lesson she had said how she thought during her 2 years in the church she has felt nothing. Now you have to understand that she comes from a very humble background as she was raised with little schooling and can’t read.  The different points of view that people have easily confuse her.  So as we prayerfully prepared and then entered her house we helped her understand how to recognize the Spirit. However, the part I’ll never forget is how we taught in perfect unison in a way that we hadn’t planned as we followed the promptings of the Spirit. Because of this she felt the Spirit and realized that she had been feeling the Spirit during her 2 years in the church. Everything changed and we officially reactivated her this past Sunday.

     I’ll also make mention of how this past week I was in Casma for 4 days (well none were full days in Casma).  On Thursday was the district meeting during which I got to meet the 2 newbie missionaries (Sister Hansen from St. George and Elder Apaz from Bolivia).  Then on Friday the leaders and my companion had to go to meetings in Chimbote so I spent the morning in Casma and trained Elder Spaz for 4 hours. So I got a little taste of what it’s like to train.  Then on Saturday we headed to Casma again for the District Conference (a meeting of all the churches in Casma, San Jacinto, and Huarmey). President Marler was in attendance which was fun. He indicated that he is very happy with the work Elder P____ and I are doing.  Finally, we headed back to San Jacinto on Sunday to end the week back in my area.

      A lot more has happened this week with activities, lessons, and various other things but this is at least a little taster.  I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the weather as it gets colder (well hotter for me).  Also, have a great Thanksgiving.  I’ll talk to you next week! Chau!
Elder Pulsipher





 

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014 Baptism of Jose


Elder Joshua Pulsipher’s letter to Friends and Family  
November 17, 2014  (many more pictures on the bottom of this letter) 
Week 24
     Well that’s 24 weeks now and since 24 is divisible by 6 another transfer has come to an end.  However, I will wait to the end to tell you if any changes will occur - a little cliffhanger for you all to enjoy.  I know my last week had a lot of firsts and was a week to remember but this week was also quite memorable. This past transfer with Elder P_____ has just been awesome as we’ve really had a lot of success in this area as I’ve described and more importantly we have plenty of fun doing it. Well I’ll cut this little intro short and cut into the chase as it were.
     The last p-day was pretty uneventful as we really just relaxed and slept which was nice. We almost never got to do that so once in a while it is something to enjoy.  On Tuesday, I started an exchange with Elder B_____ again which was a lot of fun. This was our 1st exchange together after my training so I felt a little more prepared as I have a lot more experience leading my area. We had some very good spiritual lessons with my investigators and less actives. Perhaps more importantly, he interviewed Jose who I mentioned 2 weeks ago.  Jose decided not to go to Chili so we had him interviewed for a baptism this past Saturday.  His knowledge and testimony are just awesome so he should be a great member.
     However, before I dive into Jose’s baptism I’ll make note that on Friday we had Noche Americana which was a lot of fun to have again. I’ve included some pictures of the activity which a flag took forever to make. They had a lot of fun playing musical chairs with American music and some very energetic  Pictionary. Though this time I just had them enjoy some Lays as I didn’t have time to bake something.  I was also happy because a less active family was there who we’re working with and I think they should be officially reactivated in 2 weeks time.
     On Saturday was my 1st baptism. It took most of the day to prepare as we had problems with the font leaking, but after some ingenuity and a very large tarp we got it filled. The baptismal service was very spirit filled and then the moment came in which we stepped in the water.  I was privileged to be the person to help Jose enter through the gate which is baptism as he wanted me to baptize and my companion to confirm. Apart from the water being cold all went well and I really loved the testimony he bore afterward. Finally, we ended with a cake we bought for him which was very tasty.
     On Sunday we had a Branch conference, meaning that the district presidency were in attendance along with President Mendez who is one of President Marler’s counselors.  It was a very special service as Elder Palacio, President Jacinto and I laid our hands upon Jose’s head and confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a privilege it has been to help Jose come this far, I pray he will be able to continue on the straight and narrow path. Later in the day we met with him and felt the Spirit so strong. He described how “his eyes were opened” and he felt much more peace after we laid our hands on his head. And after we could see a difference in him, he is not the same person. I am so excited to work with him as he has strengthened my testimony.
     Finally, as for changes……I’m not going nor Elder P____. We’ll be here at least till after Christmas. However, my district leader, Elder B____, is leaving to the area that surrounds the temple. He’ll probably be there for the dedication. I hope you all have a great week! Until the next time. I Hasta la proxima vez!

Elder Pulsipher




Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014 Unusual Week


 

     Another week has come and flown right by and as I am about to explain it will certainly be a week to remember. Many unique things occurred this past week and I am not sure I can mention everything for sake of time, but I will do my best. Elder P____ and I continue to work well together and we really do feel the Spirit’s presence when we teach together. It’s hard to believe that we have already been a companionship for 5 weeks now and that this week will be the last one of this transfer. I could well be leaving San Jacinto in a week, an area that I’ve really come to know and love. Well, I’ll just dive into my week and share a little about it.
     We spent last Monday in San Jacinto as we again will spend each P-day in San Jacinto again. So I got to enjoy the remarkably slow internet here. However, I did get to hear from my brother that he is doing well in his 1st area, Cromwell, CT, with his Brazilian trainer. I also got to play soccer with the young men again.
     On Friday we had our monthly zone conference which was good as we discussed the importance of good planning and how it will lead to more success. We got back to San Jacinto late so we didn’t have much time to proselyte before dinner. But we picked up a tres leches cake before dinner that is absolutely delicious. I don’t really have a good reason for buying it other than maybe trying it out to see if I wanted a similar cake for my birthday in a month. Then we finished the day at the Branch activity where we finished watching “The Croods.” Then afterward a number of members boarded a bus for the semi-annual trip to the Lima temple at 10:00 p.m. (it is a 7 hour drive). They went basically a day and a half without sleep. They sacrificed a lot to go.

     On Saturday I did two other things that I had never done before. First, we spent the morning helping a member start the process of rebuilding her house that got knocked down by the road construction (they won’t do anything). We walked with 3 other people and started removing all the ruble and making a foundation. Then we constructed a door with a temporary front wall. We will continue to help her, and I guess I’ll end up building a house for my first time. Then we finished the necessary steps with one of our less actives, B_____ , to officially reactivate her. My first time officiating re-activating a less-active. It is just important as a baptism so I am very happy.

     Finally, I gave a talk on Sunday about scripture study which went well. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I will also add that on Sunday night that I attended my first funeral for the aunt of the branch president. It was interesting and during the service the President had us sing a hymn then he had my companion or me share a spiritual thought (we didn´t know before hand) and then he repeated this 6 times. It has been an interesting week as you will read.

Chau from San Jacinto and hasta la promixa semana!

Elder Pulsipher

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3, 2014 Joshua's Wonderful Week in San Jacinto


Elder Joshua Pulsipher Week 22  
1 MORE PHOTOS BELOW!!!!
     Today marks exactly 5 months from the day I took the 6 a.m. flight from my hometown and headed into these 2 years. I can’t believe that much time has passed and I can hardly believe how far I’ve come. I’ve really come to know Christ and the changing power of his enabling atonement, and I went from being a confused English speaking American to now when I am able to communicate with just about any person in Spanish.  I love how my brother says the Lord’s hands are so evident in this work. Well this week has been great as Elder P____ and I have continued to enjoy success and progress with our members (both active and less active) and with our awesome investigators.  I focused on our less actives last week so this week I’ll focus a little on our investigators, well at least a few.
     First, I’ve mentioned M____ before, but I’ll share a little more about her.  She is a young adult of 20 years who lives here in San Jacinto with her uncle and aunt.  She is the only haircutter in the little haircutting shop that her uncle owns and works everyday all day.  As we have taught her she has kept every single commitment (which almost never happens) and she even takes notes. Perhaps more importantly she asked if these things are true, and she got an answer, she knows the Book of Mormon and everything is true.  She wants to be baptized and attend church, however her uncle won’t allow any time off so she can’t attend church. She is looking for someone to work there so she could take time off to go to church.  I’ll keep praying that she can.
     Second, A___ is a pretty cool investigator who is still in the early stages of investigating.  He is middle aged with a family of 4 and like everyone else he works in the factory.  He is reading the Book of Mormon as well and is slowly gaining a testimony as he feels “something different” when he read it. The desire he has is that he truly wants to find and follow the path that leads to God.  He is very sincere and even told us that he doesn’t know anyone else we could share our message with, but he will share it with everyone.  We’ll see how he progresses.
     Finally, I’ll make mention of J___. We have been working with him and B____ his girlfriend. They’ve completely changed from their old lives and are living the gospel more and more.  Once again, I attribute their progress to reading the Book of Mormon and praying. This book really does change lives when prayerfully read each day.  J___ now fully intends to be baptized, however he will be moving to Chile in a week. We will put him in contact with the missionaries in Santiago and I do feel he will be baptized.  So I won’t get to help him enter the water, but I did get the privilege to help him prepare.
     To quickly sum up the rest of the week we did see a lot of progress with our less actives. We helped 2 fast for the 1st time.  I also had an exchange with Elder Pontius in my area on Tuesday/ Wednesday which was fun as he is a very obedient and powerful missionary.  The extra English speaking was also a nice bonus. On Friday the youth had an activity which involved dancing balloons and food. I briefly dropped by to grab 2 cookies and a balloon (which I made into a balloon sword), then we left as we can’t dance as missionaries. Then I spent a good amount of time training the Branch leaders on Sunday with my companion. We have a lot to do to help the members as we’re in a small Branch. The missionaries have to do a lot more than proselyte in a Branch, but I enjoy the added challenge. Well, I hope you all enjoyed Halloween and I wish you all the very best this coming week, make it count!


    

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 Organizing "Flight Night" ward activity in Peru




Elder Joshua Pulsipher   
4 PHOTOS ATTACHED (Scroll down to see the photos)
October 27, 2014
     Another week for the record books, yet another has passed. During this past week my younger brother headed to the field in Boston where he is now being trained. Now there are two Elder Pulsiphers from my family out and about, I hope the world is ready (Josh drew a smiley face here).  As for the little town in Peru called San Jacinto, the work continues and the temperature continues to rise.  The construction in town center also goes on day after day.  This past week has been good as we’ve started working with several new (for us) less active members, and as Elder P______ and I just have a lot of fun together.  It has turned out that we have quite a bit in common and we do take missionary work seriously, but we also have fun doing it with plenty of jokes.  I’ll also note that I’m sending this message from Casma as we now have to email here each week which means more traveling but I guess we get much faster internet and more time with the missionaries in Casma. Today we’ll watch a movie and then have a little ping-pong  tournament.
     Like I mentioned this has been a week in which we have made a lot of progress with less active members and now we have 7 we are focusing on. With our investigators, recent converts, members, and new less actives it is actually a challenge to manage our time to visit everyone. What a great problem to have. This is part of the missionary work that I enjoy most,  that is working with members both active and less active. I find it rewarding to help them press forward on a path I know that leads to true happiness in this life and in the next one.  There is one less active member in particular, L____, who has made visible progress this past week.  We have been teaching him for 4 weeks now and in his own words he is a difficult, stubborn man.  Before lessons would typically involve an uplifting thought and then end with some sort of heated exchange he would like to start about insignificant things like why “give” tithing is the way we should discuss it rather than “pay” tithing. However, we’ve been patient with him and this past week as we explained the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration he was much more teachable and the Spirit was so strongly present.  He actually thanked us for our persistent patience.
     On Friday was an activity which I named “Airplane Night” (except in Spanish) and it was awesome. We set up the chairs like the interior of a small passenger jet.  Then during our “flight” they listened to the captain make the usual announcements and watched a film (The Croods).  We even had someone act as the flight attendant with a cart of refreshments.  However, after 30 minutes the “flight” came to an abrupt end as an engine failure led to a crash.  Then my companion and I entered as angels (in our baptismal clothing) and introduced everyone to the spirit world.  Then we finished by posing a question of whether we’re ready if we were to die tomorrow?  It was a good activity.
     Then on Saturday I was surprised to have President Marler and 2 of his assistants briefly visit us in San Jacinto.  I guess they had been visiting Chimbote so they ventured a little further south to say hi. We just discussed the needs of San Jacinto and how he’d like us to slowly start working, with his help as necessary, with the leaders of “la fabrica” (the factory) in an effort to lay the ground work for a way for the workers who are members to attend church every Sunday.  Then he left as our visit only lasted about 10 minutes.  In any case, I thank those who have sent or are sending emails, I do appreciate them! I hope that each and every one of you have a wonderful week!  Also, I wish you all an early Happy Halloween!  iHasta la proxima semana!



Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014 Summer is coming to Peru


Week # 20 email from Elder Joshua Pulsipher
October 20, 2014

     We’re at week 20 now, I guess those teenage weeks are behind me now.  I suppose with 2 weeks my brother is basically the same he is just missing a zero.  This past week hasn’t really had anything occur out of the ordinary on terms of what I usually do.  Elder Palacio and I have become much more accustomed to one another, and we are starting to have some fruits to our labor which I will describe a little more about shortly.  The climate is starting to change here as summer (not winter  is just around the corner.  I admit I am not terribly excited for summer as I basically live in a desert without A/C so a hot summer should be fun.  But I still have a month or so before I need to think about that so I’ll just dive into my week.
     On Monday we headed to Casma for a zone P-day.  A drive that should take 1-1.5 hours but it took 2.5 as we had to wait a while for a car.  However, once we arrived in Casma we got to use the very fast internet and then we enjoyed a good lunch (cookie dough included) with the other missionaries.  Then we headed over to the soccer stadium and played soccer for 2 hours which was a lot of fun especially since I hadn’t seen a grass field since I left the states.  Also, construction started here in the center part of San Jacinto so now all of the roads in central are torn up as they are being paved or re-paved. Construction should finish this December or January.
      Returning back to the more spiritual things, Elder P_____ and I have had a great week.  We’ve been able to have awesome lessons with member both active and non-active. This has included some awesome lessons with Julia as we have helped her understand gospel principles one baby step at a time. It has been awesome to see her comprehend more and more, to which the Spirit has undoubtedly been part of.  We also started working with the Branch President’s inactive daughter for the 1st time and she was very receptive.
     We also had some success with investigators. We found a family who have been actively searching for Christ’s path and are very excited to learn more from us.  We also had a great lesson with M____.  She took Moroni’s invitation and truly prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  She received a very clear answer and wants to be baptized!  However, she has to convince her Uncle/Boss to let her take Sunday mornings off to go to church so she will need to talk to him.  I do think this is her time though.  So she will need to talk to him. I do think this is her time though.  If she does get baptized she will be an example of someone who was prepared by the missionaries but then is baptized a time later as that is their time (she was taught by the missionaries a year ago).  So the people I find and teach might have their time later, buy my efforts can help to prepare them to accept the gospel at a later date.
     I also gave a talk this past Sunday on how prayer, scripture study, church attendance, tithing, family home evening, and family history can prepare us to enter in the temple.  It went well.  Though it has been a little difficult to speak this past week as I am fighting a cold.  But my little cold is nothing in comparison to the sicknesses that the recent converts have.  As one is fighting cancer with a truly inspiring, positive attitude and as Marco is still very sick still from something still undiagnosed that has prevented him from attending church for several weeks now.  I’ll keep praying for them and doing what I can to help them. May you all have a great and tranquil week.  I’ll write to all of you again next week!

 Elder Pulsipher

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 Big changes for me and my family



Elder Joshua Pulsipher  email: joshua.pulsipher@myldsmail.net
October 13, 2014
     Well another week has drawn to a close here in San Jacinto.  It has been a week of changes for me and my family which I will explain well now. As I mentioned last week my time with Elder Coca came to a close and I got a new companion, Elder Palacio. Also on Tuesday my brother, Brian, headed to the MTC in Provo to start his mission (Boston).  So thus a week of change for me and my family now that there are 2 Elder Pulsiphers.  However, I suppose change is what keeps life interesting so we might as well welcome it.  
     Monday was kind of a sad day as Elder Coca said goodbye to the people he had grown so close to.  He was here for 6 months and had grown close with many  of the members, especially our pensionista, Sister Teo and Sister Dominga ( a very loving person who does everything to help the missionaries).  I was a little sad even though I wasn’t the one learning, but I suppose the tearful goodbyes reminded me a little of the day that I left my family on an early Tuesday morning.  Later that day we headed to Chimbote to spend the night  Elder Coca left the next day and I met my new companion, Elder Palacio. Like Elder Coca he is from Argentina and he actually came to Peru at the same time.  He is pretty awesome as he is a very devoted missionary and has a rock solid testimony.  He only has been a member for 4 years so he very much understands what it is like to join the church.  We get along very well and he is a quick learner which is nice as I am now leading the area since he isn’t familiar with it.
     Perhaps the most important and sometimes different thing to figure out with a new companion is how to teach together.  However, from day 1 our teaching styles have worked well together.  During our first lesson with an investigator, J____, we were able to determine that he wasn’t sure why God, if he exists, let his 18 year old friend die (which happened 2 weeks ago).  From there we were able to share the Plan of Salvation in a clear and effective manner, and we shared how Eric, his friend, is waiting in the spirit world to be baptized.  Then we explained a little bit about baptisms for the dead.  As we did the Spirit was so strongly present, everyone in that room felt it. Even as we knelt down and offered the prayer Josias had to pause in order to compose himself a little bit.  Definitely, one of the most powerful lessons I’ve had the pleasure to be part of.  So Elder Palacio and I work well together. We’ve also had success with D___ and her family after 2 awesome lessons with them, they came to my English class and then came to General Conference.  They hadn’t set foot in the chapel for a long time.
     On Friday was our monthly missionary zone conference in which the importance of helping the member become more converted was discussed.  We also got to meet the other new missionaries to the zone. One missionary that came from Trujillo is from Ellensburg, WA (which is close to where I lived in WA) so it is cool to have someone else from eastern Washington.  Later Friday night we had the weekly branch activity which was to watch Monsters University.  It was fun to watch though with the distorted speakers it was difficult to make out the Spanish.
     Finally, we watched general conference this past weekend which meant as the resident gringo who understands computers I had to set up a way to watch it. I will omit that with the internet speed (it takes 4-5 hours for 1 session to download or buffer) it was challenging to get it all working, but in the end is all worked out. I was good and I could understand it, but I wished that I could of listened to the actual voices in English. I wish you all the very best with your various endeavors, please feel free to keep sending emails my way.  Have an exceptional week!

Elder Joshua Pulsipher
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 Transfers to new areas and Peru Election Week



October 6, 2014     (Another photo on the bottom of this page)
Week 18
     Well this marks the end of this transfer (6 week period) and also the end of my 12 weeks in field training. I am no longer a newbie.  This also means that my companion or I could change areas, but I will talk about changes at the end of this message.  Over the past few weeks, I have come to find out that more people than my mother read these messages, quite a few more as it turns out, so that is pretty cool.  Anyway, I’ll get into this week though it wasn’t too far out of the ordinary.
     Something I have failed to mention is that 2014 is an election year here and there has been a myriad of political stuff here since I arrived.  There are political signs, painted across just about anything: houses, random buildings, nearby mountains, cars, and just about everything else.  There were also many speakers on top of buildings or cars which blast political songs or messages all day every day.  There have also been quite a few political marches and rallies.  All of this escalated over the past weeks until this past Thursday which was absolutely insane with what seemed to have marches on every street and rallies every few blocks. Getting back to our apartment was an interesting experience.  But that marked the end of everything as Friday and Saturday were “rest days”, and elections were this past Sunday.  Apparently, everyone is required by law to vote here. For this reason everything shut down including church so we didn’t meet this past Sunday.  We’ll be watching General Conference next week.  In any case, I am very happy to have political season over with here as it is very noisy and annoying. Definitely not like the states with televised debates and speeches.  It is tallies and marches of hundreds of barely paid people along with a cacophony of political progranda.
     As for proselyting, this week was fairly ordinary but I will make mention of a few things.  I’ve noted before how as missionaries we walk a lot, especially when appointments fall through and we end up searching for someone else to meet with. This past week we did a lot of walking but sometimes we have weeks like that and I suppose the extra exercise is good. We did have lessons though and probably the most notable one we had with an investigator was the one with A____, our friend who lived in the U.S. He told us before that from experience he is not sure if God exists.  However, we are helping him build up his faith bit by bit.  He went to church last Sunday and loved it! During our lesson with him we started Mosiah 4: 5-10 about Christ.  We’ll keep building him up and helping him, though he’ll be leaving to Argentina for 10 days on Wednesday. 
     We also spent a lot of time working with members as we are trying to help them grow in their faith. In particular we are helping each member study the scriptures daily, pray often, attend church each Sunday, live the law of the tithe, and do family home evening.  As these things will help them become more converted and be more prepared for the Trujillo temple which will be 3 times larger than Lima. We are also really helping the members read the Book of Mormon.  There is one we’ve been working with who was baptized 3 years ago but never read or understood what the Book of Mormon was. As we have helped him read it and understand it, he has notably changed as he understands more and slowly builds a testimony of these things. It has been awesome to watch.  The work is truly different as we no longer focus on baptisms but rather helping the members become more converted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     Finally, I’ll return to my cliff hanger about transfers.  I will remain here in San Jacinto, but Elder Coca will be headed to Casa Grande (the most northern zone).  He will be the district leader so as my training comes to an end my trainer is leaving so I will take charge of this area. My new companion will be Elder Palacio who I don’t know much about, but I’ll let you know next week. Tata for now!
Elder Joshua Pulsipher





Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 Great Teaching Experiences



Week 17 from Elder Pulsipher
September 29, 2014

     Another week gone by. This next week will be the last week of my training and this cambia (transfer). Which means my trainer, Elder Coca, or myself could switch areas, though I suspect that I’ll be here a little while longer. However, anything could happen. This next Thursday will also mark four months completed of my mission. Unlike last week not too much out of the ordinary happened this week. We didn’t have any general authorities like 2 weeks ago. Well, I will just dive into it like usual.

     Last Monday, we had P-day as a Zone which was fun. We all met in Casma for our P-days. First, when I wrote last week I was amazed by the internet speed in Casma with speeds comparable to the U. S.  unlike San Jacinto. After my email time, we all had lunch together and skyped our zone leader who returned to Louisiana 7 weeks ago. Then we headed over to the chapel with popcorn and watched Mulan with was good, I hadn’t watched a movie in a while. Finally, we all played soccer which was a lot of fun though I admit my soccer skills are fairly nonexistent. The following day was the weekly District meeting and some notable changes were our new emphasis to work with leaders and help them become more converted. The change was that we no longer will be baptizing children or anyone under 18 if their parents aren’t active members, as just about every minor that is baptized without their parents become inactive here. Our focus now in this part of the world really isn’t baptisms.

     After the district meeting, I embarked on an exchange with Elder Pontius. He is quite the example of an obedient missionary. I strive to be very obedient, but he is exactly obedient. It was nice to freely speak English with another gringo for a day. At first our lessons were less than perfect as we warmed up to teaching with each other, but by day’s end we had some really powerful lessons. During one we had with a member in which I challenged her and her family to finish the Book of Mormon by 2015, the Spirit was especially strong. The only low point to that day was that no one came to my English class. Though on Thursday I was happy to have about 10 people show up.

     As for investigators and less actives, we gained a few new investigators, but I would like to share an experience we had with one. On Friday, we taught the Restoration to an old investigator (she met with missionaries about 2 years ago). Now, before I’d been working on using the Spirit more to ask inspired questions and at the end of the discussion the Spirit told me to ask her why she had read parts of the Book of Mormon (a question that was way out of context), as I did ask her she opened up to tell us how reading it helped her to feel something special. Then we were able to help her realize that was the Spirit. This was cool as it demonstrates how we can do so much better when we use the guidance the Spirit gives us.

     As for church, this past Sunday I got to bear my testimony during sacrament meeting which I always enjoy. Next Sunday will be interesting as it will be Peruvian election day – meaning that there won’t be church, in fact all of Peru won’t watch conference until October 11th and 12th. I am not sure what I’ll be doing as I doubt we will proselyte during elections. Maybe we as missionaries will be able to watch conference using the internet. Well, I wish you all the best. Try to enjoy the week and love life!

Joshua Pulsipher

Elder Pulsipher


Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 Hiked to 2000 year old ruins




Week 16
September 22, 2014
All,
     Yet another week has rolled by as we have but a week left in the month of September.  I have appreciated the emails I have received for some of you, I really do like hearing from everyone.  Just know that for luck of time I might only reply with a line or 2, but I do read every word. This past week has been fun as have my other weeks, I really do love it down here.  Sure there are hard days, a lack of modern conveniences and such, but I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t feel happy.  Well, I guess  I ‘ll just dive into how my week went.
     On Monday, I hiked to the nearby ruin again with the young men this time.  This time I really took in just how large this town is and how large and elaborate the structure must have been.  An all of this is on top of a small mountain, it must have been a sight to behold 2-3 thousand years ago.  Also, the view is truly epic. This Monday (today) we’ll be heading to Casma for a combined P-day which should be fun.
     I made some progress with the members we are working with. We met with the Z____ family on Monday for a Family Home Evening/birthday party which was fun, and I got some cake.  This family is continuing on the road to full activity, my goal is to help them prepare for the temple.  We also met with the P___ as we continue to help them along to grow in the church as new members.  We shared my favorite scripture about Christ’s atonement found in Alma 7:11-12 which describes how Christ suffered for all of our difficulties and hard times we have so that he could know exactly how to help us.  Finally, the less active member, J____, who we’ve been working with since I came here has made immense strides. She admitted she has not testimony of Joseph Smith or rather any part of this church. However, as we thoughtfully and simply shared the message of the Restoration with her along with a video she said she felt something for the 1st time!  Now she has finally opened up and wants to do all she can to obtain a testimony.  We are helping her with this by reading the Book of Mormon with her as she can’t read.
     We also picked up some new investigators this week, including one who used to live in Connecticut and used to attend church there.  We have many awesome investigators who are very receptive, the challenge is just to get them to progress, meaning continually keeping our commitments and attend church.  As everyone works on Sunday, getting them to attend church is especially hard.
     I’d like to also make note of the past Thursday and Friday.  On Thursday, we had a multi-zone conference in Chimbote and we were privileged to listen to Elder Uceda, the president of the Northwest South America.  He spoke with real power as a general authority and I was excited to understand about 98% of his Spanish. He spoke about many things but I’ll mention two.  I liked his comment on how Satan uses fear to impede action, and that we should accordingly, “face our fears.” I also liked how he pointed out how repentance is change, it is being able to look back and say that person I was isn’t me. I also got to listen to him the next day in Casma as he spoke to the Branches here.  The first time a general authority has visited Casma. It was very special.
     Finally, I’ll just note that I started teaching English classes this week.  I will continue to teach every Tuesday and Thursday which should be fun.  I hope you all have an awesome week!

Elder Pulsipher