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

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014 Week 15 Hike up to Ancient Ruins and Americana Activity


(Lots more photos are on the bottom of this page)
All,
     Another week here gone by and what a week it’s been, I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps I’ll mix it up a little bit and start by describing a little bit about my proselyting. Because of other things that happened, my proselyting time was limited so I had a little less than usual. Our usual investigators and less actives that I have mentioned has slowed in general. This past week we started teaching A______ who is a character. He was my Spanglish contact that I had 2 weeks ago. Apparently, he sought out a nearby member to put him in contact with us. So we met him and he used to live in New York for 13 years as a baker, though his immigration wasn’t strictly legal. He has been back for 6 months and is anxious to learn more from us as he wants to establish more unity in his family. Also, we picked up a new less active named C_____ who hasn’t been receptive in the past, but after a powerful lesson of the atonement of Jesus Christ with the help of our Bishop she wants us to keep returning and to help her out. More happened this week with respect to proselyting, but I would like to discuss other things that happened.
     On Monday (P-day) we hiked to a nearby lagoon and river which were pretty. It was nice to see some bodies of fresh water and vegetation. We then hiked up a nearby mountain to the lagoon and got to explore a large unexcavated ruin at the top. It is truly massive with giant walls that you can see from miles away. It was really cool to see the giant head sculpted stones that once must have formed one large structure. The view from the top was all of the the many surrounding mountains. I took many, many pictures, I will try to share a couple. This area truly is one of the prettiest in the mission. We’ll be returning today with the rest of the young men.
     On Thursday was this month’s zone conference and a companion exchange. Quite a few little changes were discussed during this meeting like the fact that President Marler has decided that we should focus on quality rather than quantity, so we won’t be held accountable for counting contacts. This is something that I very much agree with and something I wanted even before I left the U.S.   Also, we discussed how the soon to be finished Temple  in 2015 in Trujillo will be large, larger than most temples in Utah. To this Elder Anderson asked our mission president if it’s too big, if we can fill it. What a work we have right now in this mission to have a goal, an expectation to fill the Trujillo temple which is much larger than the temple in Lima!
     Also, my exchange with Elder Buehler here in San Jacinto which meant I had to lead the work for a day. Meaning I had to talk with the people we met with almost exclusively, make phone calls, organize church activities, ect. It was a little hard, but I was able to do it. I have come a long way from the Gringo I was when I first came here. The following day we had interviews with the Mission President as he came down to this zone. It consumed most of our day in Casma, but is was good. I got some good advice how I can better help my branch.
     That same day (Friday) we had Noche Americana which I have been helping to plan for 2 ½ weeks. It was the most attended yet with nearly 40 people. They loved the American music (including Switchfoot), games (bowling and Pictionary), and the cookies I made. It was a lot of work but they all loved it. I also gave a talk on Sunday that was nearly equal to the talk I could have given in English, so my Spanish has definitely come a long way. As always I wish you all the very best!
Elder Pulsipher





Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014 Week 14




Week 14
September 8, 2014
All,
Well, it has been a week, but I swear it’s only been 2 days. Time can really move fast, especially during the mission. I  know I have said it before but I feel  pretty well accustomed to life here in a little town in Peru. Life is definitely different here with a lot less of the things we enjoy in the U.S, but everyone here lives just as happy if not happier. Our material possessions really don’t matter.  With that said, I do miss some of the amenities we have in the U.S. but that’s okay.  On a different note, apparently I have a blog now at  http://elderpulsipherperumission.blogspot.com/      which is pretty cool and it has all of my weekly messages, notes, addresses, and other things.  I will also give a shout out to my brother Brian who will be turning 18 this week on the 11th and will be heading on his mission to Boston on October 8th. Well, other than that, let me dive into my week with you guys.
     Last Monday, we got to enjoy our P-day like usual which is always a welcome break, some missionaries, might think it is a waste of time but I am not one of those missionaries.  At 4:30 p.m. we headed to Chimbote so Elder Coca could have his eyes finally checked.  I figured 2 things out, first that I don’t understand medical explanations in Spanish , and second that Elder Coca simply needs some medicine to treat his eyes (he just needs money now).  I also got some Pringles in Chimbote which was exciting. On Tuesday, we headed to Cosma for our weekly District meeting which was interesting.  To help out some of the sister missionaries who are learning English, I taught them the 1st lesson in English with another gringo. It was my first time teaching in English and I actually struggled to not speak Spanish, which is probably a good sign.
     This past week we picked up 2 investigators who are very receptive.  One named H____ attended church last Sunday and is very intent on finding the path that is correct. He is 25 and loves to read and study the scriptures.  We met him as the brother of a reference we received from a church member.  He has turned out to be an awesome investigator and I hope he continues to progress. The other investigator, O___, is in his low thirties and his wife and a 4 month old daughter.  He really enjoys our visits as he gets to ask questions and learn more. So we have been blessed to have 2 really awesome new investigators.
     I_____is also still progressing.  We had a family home evening with him and the young men in the branch. We shared how they can use the armor of righteousness to be protected from the fiery darts of Satan. One of the young men dressed up in “Armor” which made the activity that much more amusing.
There was also food which will motivate any young man. I also had a memorable lesson with the Z_____family in which I shared how Jesus Christ’s atonement wasn’t only for our sins, but also for our difficulties, illnesses and hard times. How for a moment he suffered for me, he suffered for you in the Garden in Gethsemane.  It was a powerful lesson. Afterward, I have the mother a blessing as she was about to head to Chimbolte to have a hernia surgically removed. I hear she is recovering well.
     Overall, we have had success with respect to working with our investigators and less actives. However, attendance was something we struggle with this week as only 6 people came to the Friday activity, and our attendance at church went down to 45 with no investigators or less actives in attendance.  But all is well, hard weeks come and go.  I wish you all the best and I hope your week will be awesome.

Elder Pulsipher















 





Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014 Week 13 I enjoy everyday of missionary work. I don't get many emails.

September 1, 2014 Week 14
All,
     This marks my 13th week in Peru, my lucky number. The mission received 29 new missionaries this week, most of which are gringos, and my Zone (the most southern zone in the mission) got 2 of these new missionaries. So now we have 4 new missionaries including myself. The next transfer (Oct. 6) will mark the end of my training and it is possible that my companion or even I will change areas. However, for now the sun, the smoke from the factory, continues to rise over Jan Jacinto. I am loving the work here, I remember always hearing how hard missionary work is and I suppose it is, but I enjoy everyday of it. I haven’t received a lot of emails from everyone, but from what I heard it sounds like many of you are enjoying these emails that I send out each week. It is fun to communicate how my mission is going in English so I will continue doing so. And so I will dive into how my past week went.
     On Monday, I had my first contact with someone in English. He used to a baker in New York and he refused to speak in Spanish with me. He was noticeably happy to speak to someone in English and he was willing to hear our message. Other than that, this week has actually been fairly normal as we have had some days of much, much, much walking and many failed appointments and we had days of lesson after lesson as well. We started working again with a new less active member, I____, who has helped me understand the importance of maintaining and growing our testimonies. She had a strong testimony but failed to maintain it through the little things like scripture study, prayer, and attending church. It has been fun helping her rekindle that testimony, and what makes her different is that she sought us out. Something that doesn’t happen often.  However, it is so important that we do the small things for as Alma said it is by the small things that grand things are brought to pass. Like having a strong testimony and resolve to endure to the end and obtain eternal life.
     We also have quite a few progressing investigators who all have baptismal dates set for this month. So with a little bit of luck, we should have some baptisms this month. Amongst these investigators, we have I____ who is pretty awesome and he wants to join the church. His mother is fine with it, but his father is less receptive. But we will keep working with I____ and pray that his father softens his heart. S____ is also still progressing and is a very cool young mother. She just needs a little help with getting her kids to go to church with her. However, I think she will be baptized this month. We also have a couple other people but I won’t mention too much about them this week for the sake of time.
     As for other notable things, I have started helping the kids here with their math/science homework and English which has been fun, and it helps us to build some better relationships with the families in our Branch. Also, I will be going to Chimbote later today to finally meet with a doctor about Elder Coca’s eyes which have really been bothering him. We even had to stop working for a while on
Saturday because he simply couldn’t teach. I think he just needs glasses but we will see.
     Well in closing, I’ll just mention how much I am enjoying it here as I can grow closer to Christ and learn to speak Spanish more and more (right now my Spanish is very functional and I can communicate without much trouble). I hope you all have an extraordinary week and I will write again next week. Ta ta for now.
Elder Pulsipher