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:
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