Machu Picchu

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Connor Homecoming Talk

You are invited to hear Connor reporting on his mission this Sunday, June 25th at the Mira Mesa building.

The address is: 11023 Pegasus Ave, San Diego, CA 92126.

The meeting starts at 11 am.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Final Email from Connor

Hi guys.  So this is my final email from the mission!  This week we had a multizone conference, which I believe was to be a replacement for us folks who would not be able to attend the mission conference with Elder Christensen.

I've attached some pictures below from this week.  The first one is me and Elder Sanchez (my greenie / that I trained).  The others are just me from this week.

Elder Lara and I are in a trio again, as the Elder who was in the hospital a few weeks ago had to go back again.  So we are going to spend a week together as a trio and covering two full / different areas. The plan appears to be that I will be shipped back to Cusco on Saturday.  I will stay with one of the office Elders and one of them will go with me to attend my old Wards in Cusco on Sunday.  Then on Monday I will be with Elder OrdoƱez (who goes home with me) and am fairly confident we won't have time or the ability to use the internet / send emails again.  It really won't matter much to us as I will see you guys on Monday night!

I wanted to send you all one final email with my thoughts / feelings on approaching the end of my mission.  As I thought about that some more this week, one of my favorite stories from the Book of Mormon is about the sons of Mosiah.  They were obviously VERY different people before their conversion...But after their powerful conversion, it states that they were "instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer."

I too, feel like I have been an "instrument in the hands of God" for the last 2 years while serving here in Cusco Peru.

I know that I am obviously not the bravest person. I really am terrified of talking to strangers.
I know that all the Lord really required of me was a "heart and a willing mind" (D&C 64:34)
Being willing to share the gospel, even while terrified, the Lord has strengthened me more than I could ever have imagined.

Throughout my mission, it has obviously been a rollercoaster, full of different types of problems, with different people and places.  My mission thoughts are:

1. Starting off in the MTC. I was pretty confident. I thought (due to my somewhat "superior" Spanish skills due to 4 years in school) that I would be a star in the mission. I learned VERY quickly that I was, indeed, quite wrong. But coming to that realization early really helped me and I think made me a good tool for the Lord to prepare me to enter the field.

2. Starting off in Los Alamos, Cusco.  Luckily, I had an excellent trainer (shoutout to Elder Ludlow), and I am grateful for this. I know the Lord knew my weaknesses, and put me with the best person to help me. I know the Lord blessed me and guided me to help the Peruvian people in that first area, even though I couldn't communicate myself! (Funny how that works!)

3. After 3 short changes in Los Alamos, I was sent to Juli.  So Juli, is about as "middle of nowhere" that you can go!  It is a little pueblo, with a little population, and at times it seemed discouraging. But I know that the Lord prepares people all over the WORLD!  People were found, taught, and converted just like in any sector, despite the reputation for being "Impossible"!

4. Thanks to Juli, by the time I reached Tahuantinsuyo (back in Cusco), I had tons of patience.
I was used to people not being in their houses (even when they said they would be), I was used to people not following up with their commitments.  I was blessed to be able to train there, Elder Sanchez (his pic is above as we are in the same zone now).

Training was rough, because I felt like I wasn't "good enough" for that. But the Lord once again strengthened me and helped me, helping us to find people prepared to receive his restored gospel

5. Back to Puno! So Mirador (back in Puno) was ROUGH. Not much help from the Ward, small and cold area. But even with those problems, Elder Lara and I were able to have fun, find and teach new people, and keep working!

6. Finishing in Juliaca.  So Juliaca is...well just gross.  It is visually quite gross, but the people are really humble and kind.  The Lord has blessed us in these short 2 changes with many baptisms and new investigators.

I am more than anything grateful for these 2 years of service on my mission.

I know the Church is true. I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith, and more than anything for the love of our Heavenly Father. I know he has guided me and protected me, watching over me in the hardest and easiest parts of my mission.

I can't believe my mission is over.  Two years in the marvelous Peru Cusco Mission!  Over the two years, I can proudly say I've become a different person from who I once was.  I still remember the day, opening that long-awaited letter, on the 20th of March, 2015, Peru Cusco it said!

Well, at that time, I'm sad to say, I didn't know much about Cusco, or even Peru, or maybe even South America. I thought of it as the place, that my leaders obviously wanted me to be. Also the place that my family wanted to be. I was excited to go, but I was unaware in that moment that it was the place the Lord wanted me to be.

I recall not being that nervous, merely thinking something along the lines of---"Well I'm off for two years, going to baptize a few hundred people, come back, continue on with NORMAL life" (Didnt seem too bad in my mind!)

Oh how I was wrong. I obviously haven't had the opportunity to baptize /convert hundreds of people, but more importantly, I did have the opportunity to convert myself.  Throughout these two years, I've seen the Lords hand in my life/ in my mission. I know He lives.

I am very grateful for everyone who has contributed to the person I am now. My family above all, my friends, leaders, seminary teachers and many more. Without them, and without the Gospel, I know I would be a completely different person from the person I am today.

The mission has been rough, but I know the Lord has helped me.

"Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak, therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things, yeah, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)

I, with Ammon, glory in the Lord who has strengthened me and helped me throughout these 2 years!


See you soon Mom and Dad.
Take CARE!

-Elder Connor Barry
soon to be merely
Brother Connor Barry :P

Peru Cusco Mission
June 2015---June 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ending with a Bang!

So we had 2 baptisms this week, 2 confirmations, found 5 new investigators to teach and had 7 investigators at church!  Cool stuff.  Is great to be so busy as the time gets closer to going home.  Just keeps me focused.  We have another baptism scheduled for June 17th, but that will have to be handled by Elder Lara in my "absence!"

I also spent 2 days this week traveling to Cusco.  I got a call last Monday night and was told I have to give a power of attorney and then be fingerprinted for something with visa / Peru travel rules.  I have no idea why they couldn't have done that when officer Elders were in Juliaca last week, but I got on a bus and traveled to Cusco (7+ hours) and then the next day came right back.  Sort of crazy and inefficient, but whatever.

I can't believe I am coming up on the end of my mission.  I am getting tons of emails from the office about "rules" of finishing your mission, details about last few days, instructions for travel and immigration paperwork, etc... Here are some pictures of one of our baptims this week.  For some reason I only took them from the first baptism and not the second!  Things got really busy with the White Night and number of folks getting baptized.

So Elder Lara stayed with Elder Wells and Werlen (the two serving in our neighboring area) while I traveled to and from Cusco.

So I also have some potentially sad news.  So evidently we might not get to see Elder Christensen.  Apparently he is only coming to Cusco, but the mission really doesn't have the money to send us all to the event.  Is a little frustrating actually and many folks are angry.  I find it interesting that they can  afford to bus me around for something that could have been handled in person a week before, but oh well.

It struck me pretty hard this week re: money spent in the mission as I had to stay with office Elders on my quick trip back to Cusco.  The office house is DEFINITELY a huge step above what I have stayed in my entire mission!  So they have a huge complex, like in a tower that is very close to the mission office.  They basically have a complete house that is really nice.  3 bedrooms; 3 bathrooms with actual working showers.  A super nice kitchen and a nice balcony with city views.  I had to take a pic (below) to just show my District back in Juliaca how some folks got to live in the mission! :)

We pay 250 soles a month for our house, getting showered with a bucket, living in a little hut on top of some guys roof!  Yet the office Elders live in an ultra modern apartment tower, with super nice water heater thingies for their showers, and their rent is around 2,000 soles a month!  Crazy.

Anyway, was still an experience to ride the bus for so long and to people watch and talk with folks who wondered what the "lost tourist" was doing on the bus!  We got stopped two or three times by police on the trip and they searched for stolen electronics and checked people's identification.

Here is a little video of Elder Lara and I having some fun.  Meet "the Barley Challenge."  I had dared Elder Lara to eat a spoonful of that Echo drink I like and he totally thought he could do it!  Result:  FAILED.  It was totally funny though.

A member took us out to "Asador Point" this week, which is pretty much the only good restaurant Juliaca has to offer.  I ordered Lasagna.  It was actually pretty good (definitely in comparison to the food I normally eat here).  I gave it a 10 out of 10.  Lol.  The member is 19 and turning 20 in December.  He is very mature though for his age and seems a lot older.  He is the Ward secretary.  He is a recent convert (think about a year and a half ago) and is planning on turning in his mission papers in the upcoming next week or two.  His family aren't members and he has it pretty rough.  His mom has some sort of illness where she got paralyzed and his Dad doesn't live nearby.

I heard from my entire Lima MTC group this week and they are all going home on the 12th of June as well.  So that is going to be exciting to catch up with them back home.

Here are a few more random pics from this week.  I am off for now.  Will talk to you guys next week, which I guess will be for the last time!

Take care!