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!