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  
     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!