Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

     Greetings once again from Gran Chima! It has truly been another busy week full of changes and hard work in Trujillo but I still enjoy every minute of it. Like I said last week, my time with Elder Perez came to an abrupt end as he had to return to his country because of Visa problems. Now I find myself with Elder Barrios like I mentioned last week. He actually will serve the rest of his mission until the temple dedication basically. He has been a lot of fun to work with as he is very motivated and obedient, and he likes to have a good time. We’ve have a great week proselyting which I’ll dive right into.

     The last P-day was absolutely crazy again. I spent the night before with my district leader as Elder Barrios hadn’t arrived yet. Our studies were then cut short as his companion had an early appointment at the clinic. But as we arrived at the appointment it turned out to not exist. Then we rushed back to get ready to go to a ruin with the zone. It took an hour and half to get to, but it was really cool. I included some pictures last week and I’ll include some more this week. It is very much intact and there is even a mummy to see in the museum (but we couldn’t take photos in the museum). Then we hurried back to get my new companion. I had to hurriedly change in the mission office to a suit then we (the office elders and the Marlers) headed to the airport where we got Elder Barrios. Then after a little time in the mission home we headed back to Gran Chima where it was time to work. Oh, I forgot to mention the name of the ruin is El Brujo, which I imagine is on the internet.

     On Tuesday we had a pretty awesome district meeting in which Elder B___ to meet everyone, and we discussed and practiced how to teach to the needs of each person we meet. The idea is simple, we only need to ask questions as inspired by the spirit and bear witness to the part of the doctrine that they need in their lives. I like the words of Elder Holland who said, “that something in what they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony.” All that is just a matter of listening to the spirit and following his promptings. We applied that as we started anew with an investigator named A___ later that day. At first the lesson was a little rough but as we listened and asked inspired questions she opened up and we had an excellent lesson. She could easily progress to baptism in the coming weeks.

     The next day we headed to interviews with President Marler in the mission home. As usual, he was behind schedule so while we waited I got to finally email (I didn’t have time on P-day). Then I had my interview in which we discussed various things and I really felt the spirit strong. At one point we discussed what it means to be consecrated. How there is a difference between doing something out of necessity rather than doing so with the desires to do so. Living the gospel, being more obedient as a missionary, progressing, because that is what we actually want to do. That is true conversion, having the desires to do so. Living the gospel, being more obedient as a missionary, progressing, because that is what we actually want to do. That is true conversion, having the desire to only do that which is good.

   Another memorable lesson we had was a person who was recently reactivated, M___, who bore a very spiritual testimony about her experience in the church. This was after a spiritual lesson about the Restoration, during which her 4 young boys were screaming, crying, and running every which way. It was very noisy and chaotic but we persevered the spirit was there.

     Something else that I’ve started since I got here is meeting with recent converts. Missionaries are supposed to reteach all the lessons and visit them fairly often, but that didn’t happen in the past here. It has been fun to work with them and strengthen their testimonies. I enjoy all parts of missionary work, but strengthening members is what I enjoy doing most. On Friday one of them, named C___, pulled out a violin and played for us. It was very surprising to see a violin in generally poor circumstances, but it was very cool. However, apart from that out of the ordinary occurrence we really had some awesome lessons with the recent converts and less active members.

     As for other notable occurrences this week,   we helped our district leader (Elder P____) move apartments which was good work. However, he rewarded us with some state-side beef jerky! I think it was a glimpse of the future as we’ll probably be moving to a much nicer apartment soon. Also, Saturday morning we got to proselyte as a zone in the area of our district leader. I got to proselyte with Elder H___ (zone leader) and we had a great time. Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the last of January. Thank you for continuing to read these, I know they’re not all that great, but I hope they paint a picture of what I’m doing. iExitos! Ichauan!


Joshua Pulsipher

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015 Major Changes during the past week.

Week 33- photos are at the bottom of this page

     Well it is another warm greeting from Peru as time keeps passing by. It has been a pretty crazy week filled with unexpected twists and turns. I suppose that’s mission life or rather just life in general. However, it is the unexpected changes and challenges that keep it interesting. I’ve enjoyed my time with Elder P____ and I’ll admit that at first it was difficult to learn how to work with him, but I have learned a lot and had a good time. We came to the point where we felt the spirit strongly in each lesson in which the people we taught had a much better environment to move forward.

     Now with all that said, let me describe what a crazy day last Monday was. During our studies our mission President called us, which was unexpected, telling us to report to the mission office right after we wrote our families. Then as we wrote our families and friends, Elder P___ found out that his grandmother had passed away. So then it became my responsibility to help him through that challenge. Quickly thereafter we headed to the mission office where after a lengthy interview with Elder P____, President Marler emerged to tell me that I would soon be leading my area. Because of Visa problems, Elder P____ had to return to his country to finish his mission in one of the missions there. So my president told me that I had one week to prepare myself to lead my area which has the potential to be 3 areas. He also told me that Elder B____ would be my new companion. He is from Lima and is my great-grandfather (the missionary who trained the missionary that trained Elder C___ who trained me).  As unusual occurrence and it should be interesting, he’s returning from Lima to finish the last 3 months of his mission. Anyway from there, we headed back to our area with many things in our minds. Though we stopped at a store which sells many foods imported from the United States. I got some American soda, candy bars, and some cookies and brownie mix. Though I learned that with exchange rates, imported food is a little expensive. But I was happy and it helped cheer Elder Perez up. As for the change, I’ll return to that at the end of this letter.

     This week has involved a lot of work as we’ve worked diligently to help me prepare to lead this area. And like I said we’ve had some very spirit filled/ lead lessons. One lesson we had with the V____family was very memorable. The V_____ family is a family of active recent converts, inactive members, and investigators. They also make a living by making shoes in their house as a family like many other people here. Anyway, I remember in this lesson that as Elder P___ and I prayed to have the Lord’s guidance that we helped explain the importance of the Book of Mormon. Hardly something new, but as we did so the spirit prompted me to speak much more aggressively and directly than I usually do. And the father (who has been inactive for many years) said that he understood the invitation to read, ponder and pray for the first time. Surely missionaries had explained so before, but the difference was the spirit. I can’t wait to see their progress.

     Another memorable less was with M____ who has been investigating for quite some time and has attended church many times, but never progressed because like many people here she is not married with her husband. However, in this lesson as my companion was starting a quick scripture about faith in Christ, the spirit told me to ask her if she believed Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true. She said yes and that she liked going to church. To which I responded that if she believed and knew why not take the step forward of baptism. My companion then threw a date on that invitation to which she agreed. We have a bit of work to get her ready but the 21st of February is her baptism date. We also had many other lessons, but I don’t have time to write about all of them.

     On Friday we had another activity which was better attended. I taught them how to play Jeopardy which they really seemed to enjoy. I had to come up with new questions as the “challenging” one I used in San Jacinto were too easy. It’s harder to become acquainted with the members in a large ward like this one, but activities like this have helped me out a lot.

     Sunday was also pretty crazy. We headed to church in the morning where I gave a talk about the
Book of Mormon which went well. My companion gave basically his farewell talk which was a little trunky, but it was also uplifting. Then at 2:20 p.m. we headed to the mission home with S____ (who I mentioned last week) and bid farewell to Elder P____. I then proselyted with S_____, who is a very powerful former missionary. I learned a lot as we taught together.

     Now as this past week comes to a close and this next one starts I know find myself with Elder B____ and I will be the one to lead the area. I’ll let you all know how it goes, but I know the Lord will support me and provide the means to do so. I hope you all have a great week! For now it’s good bye from Gran Chimu, Porevnir, Trujillo, Peru! I Chau!

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015 Adjusting to new area

Week 32

Well, the time has come for me to say how another week has come by but I can’t think of anything creative this week so I’ll leave it at that. I’m steadily becoming more acquainted with Gran Chimu and am starting to get a grip on navigating this large area. It’s a pretty diverse area with neighborhoods that are composed of sand and homes, built up city like downtown neighborhoods, and one neighborhood which is brand new and where every house is exactly the same. It’s got a little bit of everything. There also is quite a bit of sun here unlike a lot of places up North in the states. I still think it’s weird to be in the middle of summer during January. Before I begin let me thank all who sent me Christmas emails and New Year’s emails. They are much appreciated and I tried to respond to all of them. Know that I enjoy hearing from all of you.

     Anyway, on Monday I had my 1st P-day in Trujillo.  In the morning we headed to the city as a district to buy glasses for one of the missionaries. Then headed to Plazavea (a large grocery store) where we found Snickers and maple syrup. They were very good and then we ended the day with 2 family home evenings.

     On Wednesday we had my 1st zone conference in this area. It was different having 2 elders from the office present as Casma is too far way for such. The zone is a little more serious than my last one, but the zone leaders seem pretty cool. I really enjoyed the conference as it focused on how the end we should have in mind should be that of the temple. One of the ultimate goals, if not the ultimate goal, of the Restoration was to bring about the Restoration of temples. The end goal isn’t baptism, but rather eternal families. As missionaries the focus is to help the people with this in mind that each one might have the privilege to be sealed with their loved ones for time and all eternity. This is also a special time here in Trujillo as the temple here is very near completion. A returned missionary in my ward who returned from his mission about 1 ½  years ago, named S____ (yes, kind of a strange name), is a member of the temple counsel. He says that it should be dedicated in June or July.  What a special time to be a missionary here.

     To be honest, as Elder P___ and I started the week our teaching wasn’t very unified. Until that point he had indicated that he didn’t like practicing. However, as we taught with Segundo (who was an assistant to his mission president) we had a super powerful 1st lesson, probably one of the more powerful 1st lessons I’ve taken part of. Then the next day as we taught another new investigator, S___ took a seat back and our lack of unity came blindly apparent and the lesson quickly went down hill.  Afterward, as we talked S____ helped me to understand some of our shortcomings and helped Elder P____ understand the importance of practicing. From that point we have made leaps forward and shortly afterward had a very powerful lesson about the Restoration with an investigator named A___. She is an investigator of over a year, but after that lesson I could see her drive change. So as we’ve finally been able to effectively study together and practice we’ve become much more unified as a companionship in terms of teaching. The truth is that we don’t have time to study much and practice, but as we exercise our faith to do so, the Lord blesses us to teach through the power and authority of his Spirit. Like I’ve said before, it is the small and simple which make a large difference in our lives. Now it isn’t always easy, we still have challenges, but if we persist the blessings are there.

     On Friday we had an activity in the chapel which was the first time they’ve had in a while, I guess the last missionary didn’t like having activities. We watched “How to train a Dragon 2”, but since every movie in Peru is pirated the DVD’s are usually copies. However, this particular DVD was a cell phone video in some movie theater. One could see the audience and the occasional crying baby. I nearly died laughing as I’ve said before laws in Peru are more like ideals.

     The next day we headed to another part of our zone called Loredo to proselyte there in the morning. It was a change of pace to proselyte in a fairly nice area as opposed to the poorer areas I’m accustomed to. Though as it was a nicer part of Trujillo, we weren’t really able to talk to anyone. However, we still have fun and I found out that one of my zone leaders swam the same events I did in high school which was cool to find out.

     Well with that you know a little more about my area. I will try to focus a little more on the people next week. However, know that I’m doing well and that Trujillo is a pretty fun place to be. I hope you all have a great week, several of you reading this will have started school/college again so enjoy that too. iHasta la proxima semana!

January 5, 2015 Transfered to Trujillo area

Week 31
Well, another week has come by and we find ourselves in the year 2015! Yay! As you read last week I got transferred last week for the 1st time and now I find myself in an area of Trujillo called Porvenir and my specific area is called Gran Chimu. I am partnered up with Elder P___who is from Honduraz like I mentioned last week. He has been a missionary for 20 months and is a very animated person. He’s always cracking a joke and likes to break the ice straight away. Working with him as been fun and we are becoming more and more adjusted to teaching with each other. He’s been here for 4.5 months though so it’s very possible that I’ll just be with him until the next transfer in 5 weeks time and he’ll leave to finish his mission in a different area. Also speaking of areas, Gran Chimu is absolutely massive. Before it was quite big and in one direction it goes as far as the eye can see, but now one of the neighboring areas was closed an added to us so this area is even bigger. There is a lot of ground to cover, but I suppose I’m up to the challenge. Also, the fact that I’ll be working with a ward and not a branch is something new. There are a little over 500 members of which roughly 120 actively attend, so there is a much larger pool of less actives to choose from. With that short introduction I’ll mention a little bit about my week.
     On Monday as I slept in San Jacinto, my zone leaders called at 5:00 and told us we had to leave by 6:30 a. m. Usually during transfers we get the Monday to prepare ourselves and we leave that night. So we hurriedly packed my things and headed to Trujillo which also meant I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone in San Jacinto, but maybe it’s better that way. Once we arrived in Trujillo, we headed to the mission office where Elder P___ had a meeting because he was about to train. Then I met Elder P___ and we headed to Gran Chimu. It still feels kind of weird knowing that I live in Trujillo now and really not all that far from the city center- well about 20 minutes away.
     We’ve had quite a few lessons during my short time here as there are many more people to teach here than there are in San Jacinto. During these lessons we’ve slowly become more and more unified which has been interesting as he is very aggressive with his teaching wheras I’m generally more gentle and a little more soft spoken. However, we’re finding a balance which seems to work pretty well. Of course, what’s most important is that we teach with the Spirit. I continue to find that as I pray to be filled with God’s love as I teach that I really feel a difference and am able to more fully fulfill my calling. It is something I’ve been doing, but I’ve really noticed here that as I work in a completely new area with people I don’t know that I really do feel a love for them when I pray in my heart and with that Spirit has been much more present.
     I remember a lesson we had with a less active family (the Pena family) that as I prayed for such, being immediately filled with compassion and love. The mother was suffering from tremendous back pain and as we helped her understand the comforting power of the Atonement a little more and then exercised our priesthood to bless her, the Spirit was so very present. During our next lesson with her family, I was happy to see that she was doing better. I was even happier to see her and her family come to church this past Sunday.
     Speaking of church, it was different having double the attendance of the branch I was in. It functioned very much like a branch in the states and I actually got to meet in a chapel and not some old medical building. It was fun getting to know everyone and they got a kick out of how I started my testimony (introduction) in English and then switched to Spanish. The ward mission leader and the bishop are also real cool.
     Well, that’s a little about my new area and a little about my experience thus far. I hope you all enjoyed New Year’s and that winter over in the states is still fun (it is very warm here in Trujillo). I wish you all the best and bid you a great week! Chau!
Elder Pulsipher

December 29, 2014 Christmas in Peru

Elder Joshua Pulsipher's letter to Family and Friends Week 30 with many pictures below this letter.
     Well, yet another week flew by and along with my first Christmas as a missionary. It definitely was a week to remember and I imagine it is a Christmas that I’ll remember for a while. A lot happened during the week such as it would be very difficult to write in this letter, but I’ll try to hit the highlights of the week. The one thing that I’ll save for the end is whether or not I’ll be transferred during this round of transfers. The reason I always save that for the end is because I don’t know when I start writing these letters. I will, however, mention that it is crazy to think that I’ll have been a missionary for 7 months this Saturday and that I’ve been in San Jacinto for nearly 6 months. Well, in any case I guess I’ll start with some of the less spiritual highlights and then work my way into the more spiritual things.
     I spent the last P-day emailing in the morning and then after a quick lunch we headed to Dayle’s house (one of the people we’ve recently reactivated). We helped her cook and prepare food for her mother’s birthday (Sister Marina). It was kind of different to enjoy P-day, but the party later that night was well attended which meant a lot to Sister Marina who had been feeling kind of lonely. (one photo is attached of her party)
     For Christmas Eve we started off the day with some pancakes that our pensionista made), then we headed for Casma for a district meeting which was uplifting, and it was a little different as my companion and I each taught a part of it. Then I spent the rest of the morning playing guitar (using a guitar that Jose let me borrow). I then proselyted with Elder Cunningham after lunch which was my first time proselyting with a zone leader. We had some good lessons and just had a pretty good time speaking Spanglish (English is getting harder and harder). Afterward we had the best turkey I’ve ever eaten during an awesome turkey dinner as a zone.
     Then we spent the rest of the night playing music and singing as I played the guitar and a couple others took turns playing the ukulele. It was so much fun to play the guitar again. We also had a gift exchange which was fun.
     After a night filled with many, many, many fireworks it was Christmas! We played soccer early in the morning then I got to Skype my family. It was the first time I’d seen them in nearly 7 months and it was fun to talk to them for an hour. Then the other Elders decided that we would participate in the talent show, so I had to quickly learn how to play “Over the Rainbow” on guitar which I would play with a ukulele and 4 singers. We then drove to Chimbote to go to the talent show for the missionaries in Chimbote and Casma. It was a lot of fun and the Marlers were in attendance. Our performance of “Over the Rainbow” went well and I imagine that there are more pictures on the mission blog. We also eat a lot of cake! President Marler, who was kind enough to let me use his guitar for the show, commented that I did good job and I imagine that there will be more guitar playing in my future.
     To shift this now to the more spiritual things, I’ll start with something President Marler shared after the show. He mentioned how as missionaries we are not on our own time or our own work, but rather that we are here on the Lord’s time doing His work and that we really have an opportunity to devote, to consecrate, all our time and effort to serving the Lord- a time in which we can learn how to better dedicate ourselves to the Lord. I’d also add the thought as 2015 comes around that we all can reflect on how we can better consecrate ourselves to the Lord maybe through service or maybe through the small things like scripture study and consistent, meaningful church attendance. President Marler also mentioned that he had just found out that in July our mission will become the Trujillo North Mission expanding up to Cajamarca and the Trujillo South Mission expanding down to Hauarez. No more information is known at this time. What I do know is that I’ll spend one year in this mission and another year in another mission whether it be Trujillo North or South…
     With respect to proselyting, we didn’t do all that much this week because of Christmas. However, we were able to reactivate Jeffrey who is the son of Dayle so now her whole family has been reactivated! It’s been awesome to see them progress during these past 3 months and I hope that they make it to the temple. Everyone else who I’ve had the pleasure in helping reactivate or baptize are all doing great as well. Jose was called as the assistant branch secretary and today in the branch counsel he did on exceptional job. He has a lot of potential. It’s been a real pleasure to see him grow and help him along the way thus far. I have been blessed to see a lot of success and growth in San Jacinto during my time here. It is such a small town without a lot of modern conveniences with a factory right in the center, but as I’m sure you’ve come to see, at least in part, I really have developed a love for this place and the people working with a branch is tough, but is also very rewarding as we can help so much as missionaries. I also have enjoyed the added challenge.
     With all that said, I’ll just come forward to say that yes, my time here has come to a close. Elder Palacio will stay and train a new missionary his second time. I am headed to the Porvenir zone which means I am headed for the Trujillo area. We’ll see what it’s like but the one thing I’ve heard is it’s a fairly dangerous area.
     Well, that’s about it. I’ll be sure to let you know how I’m doing next week. I guess I’ll be in a ward now with Elder Perez who is from Honduras. I wish you all a very happy New Year in the mean time! Have a great week!