Machu Picchu

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bolivia Frontier


So this week I don't have many photos or anything that I didn't send Thursday, but its been alright.

Today for P day we went to the frontier with Bolivia, was cool I guess hah.  Just gonna start sending pictures.

Not much else to say as well that we didn't talk about on Skype!

[Connor's email came right when I was moving from station to station at Sport Clips getting my hair cut!  So I only had time for a quick email to Connor.]

pshh lucky, dont tell me your in sportclips, I want to get my haircut SOOO bad but I have to wait 1 more week till we go to puno, then i will be able to do it there. It is crazy long right now, when its wet it almost touches my eyes, I have to put a ton of gel in it and push it off to the side a lot to look normal hah. So excited to get it cut!

[I asked if he got the letter from his Grandma and Grandpa that I scanned and sent via email]

Yep, saved it on my flashdrive too and sent them a little email thanking them for everything.

I am sorry I cant really write to you guys this much this week, I have like 30 emails for some reason this week with tons of people to write, but I pretty much said everything on Skype.

I think I am going to receive my new backpack from "Willy" next monday, because we are going to Puno, and I will get to cut my hair ! woohoo!

Love you guys!

[The backpack from "Willy" is a handmade / custom bag that evidently Connor designed himself!  Outta be interesting to see it :)]

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Eve Skype (Messaging and Video Chat)!

[Summary of our Skype messaging and video chat with Connor on Christmas Eve 2015 from Juli Peru]

Connor had arranged with a member of the church in Juli for him and his companion to use their internet and Skype with us @ 2:00 California time on Christmas Eve.  So we surrounded our TV (which has a Skype camera) with his brother, sister, mom, dad and dog.  We waited, waited and waited.  About 2:20 I got a strange call on my cell from some 20 digit phone number!  It turned out to be Connor (which was EXTREMELY exciting to just chat with him) and we learned that the member in fact didn't have internet as he "borrowed it from a neighbor and that person was traveling."

Connor told us he would try back at 4 - so like in an hour and a half.

About 4 I got a message from Connor via Skype messenger (a chat / instant message service basically).  It turned out that in his building where he lives the owner has wifi and let Connor and his companion use two laptops to chat with family via skype.  The owner of building is not a member but his two daughters are.  So Connor could type / message on Skype (on laptop with no camera) while his companion talked via video chat to his mom and dad in Columbia on other laptop with camera.  His companion's parents are separated so his companion could talk for 1 hour with each parent.  Connor also got the same 2 hours! It was also a blessing that they were in their own room doing this!  So really no limitations on public building, paid wifi, bothering a member, etc...

So it turned out I got to text with Connor back and forth for almost the full 2 hours sharing stories / pictures and just waiting for Skype to start!  It was a blast!

Here are some pics Connor sent me while texting.

This first one is view from his 3rd floor room right off Plaza in "downtown" Juli.  The storm clouds coming in are crazy!  It evidently is a place where the wind blows constantly and when a storm comes it literally knocks out internet / electricity.

Pictures of Connor by Lake Titicacca

This is a panoramic picture of bay in Juli.  Gotta click on it I assume to get the full effect!

Connor had done a service project for a very old lady -- basically carrying branches from her fields to her house for her to do "something" with.  He got fried by the sun! (or by the "sol" as he kept saying and had to correct himself).

He sent a video his companion took of his burn!

He put some sort of creme on the burn and then went back to work in his white shirt.  At the end of the day with sweat and creme -- had a nasty white shirt!

In Juli he has to walk everywhere.  His area covers two small towns basically 1 hour away one way and 1.5 hours away the other way.  They have various animal "encounters" and his defense is to shoot them with his trusty weapon!

We then got to Skype with Connor for two full hours!  It was so much fun to see him and talk with him.  We all squealed when he showed up on video.  It was rough for first few minutes as internet was bad.  He repositioned himself closer to wifi and it went well for rest of night.

We had his Grandma, Aunt and Uncle and various Cousins coming over for dinner --so they got to participate in the last hour of Skype!

I recorded the full 2 hours on video -- but have only attached a few excerpts below.

This first one is the first few seconds of excitement when he appeared on screen for first time!

The second one is a funny exchange between the family, Connor and his companion re: breakfast foods.  They evidently eat yogurt with cereal -- so no real milk / dairy product!

The final one is just a summary of his first Sunday in the Juli Branch.

We have 5 months until Mothers Day and can Skype him live again!  May 8, 2016.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2015

First week in Juli

So yeah, is it alright with you guys if we Skype the 24th this week? (Thursday) We have found a member, but he only will have time Thursday. I will use Skype from 5 to 6 here, so I think that is 2 to 3 your time, but you guys should figure that out more hah. I'm not sure what account I am going to use, but I will get one.

So yep, this week has been interesting. 8 hours in bus to Puno, 2 in a little mini van full of old ladies to go to Juli after. It was cool though, there were only 3 of us on the first little floor of the bus, because it was a double decker. 3 missionaries, on the entire bottom floor, I attached a picture of me in my seat.

We stopped about 4 hours in, at a little store. Its crazy how hard those people are taking advantage of tourists there. Its just a little store in a desert, but sells stuff at like 4x the price they should be. For example, a kit kat costed 14 soles, or like a little more than $4, crazy!

That photo is with an elder with some weird dead animal on his head, his name is Elder Neilson, pretty sure he has a blog too.

Juli is alright hah, a lot different. Our house is like RIGHT next to the plaza., so thats cool, our sector is pretty much the plaza, 4 other streets and then "the campo", which is like "the field" translated, its just fields that go out for ever hah.

Im going to write more, just sending this for now!

So yep, here in Juli we dont have a pension, we just buy everything hah. I actually like it though its cool, we can eat what we want, and dont eat chuño. As you can see, we have cereal , yogurt, and aji-no-men, which is just top ramen.

[As a side note, this stash of food has Connor's Mom and I a little worried!  It doesn't look all that healthy!]

In Juli, it can be bitterly cold, because its like even more cold than Puno. We had some CRAZY lightning, rain and wind this week, and when that happens, all the lights in all of the city go out, thats already happened 3 times this week.  In the video you will be able to see where we live from the plaza.

The good thing is our room is HUGE! Its more than 2x what our room was in los alamos, thhats good. The bed is awesome, the blankets dont itch, and it even has a comforter. Bad thing is that we dont have hot water in the morning, so we always shower in FREEZING water.

Right now we are in Puno, we had a zone meeting today, so we came in Combi (word for like a mini van, jam packed of people.)

But yeah, my comp is really cool, its so weird because I knew him in my first change in cusco, he was in our zone, didnt think I would be companions with someone I already know, but hes cool.

I dont have any photos with me right now, we took a ton, but they are on his camera and he doesnt have it with him hah.  There really is a lot less work here in Juli. The people here are just super flakey, in planning every night we make plan A, B and C because we expect many people will fail us. Thats the hardest thing

Yesterday, in our branch we had like 30 something come to church. The sacrament meeting started at almost 9:30, (30 MINUTES LATE!), crazy. At 9:00 there was only 3 people, crazy stuff. We did the sacrament, (were going to give talks but we didnt for some reason), and my companion led the hymn.

Got my package today, but Im not going to open the gifts till Christmas (OR MAYBE i will fall into temptation in the house, im not sure), but thanks so much for everything.

I think the internet will be better in Juli, but thanks for everything. SEE YOU GUYS THURSDAY AT 5 MY TIME!

I will friend you dad on Skype sometime before . See you guys then! Super excited till then!

[I also found another picture of Connor in the blog from the Senior Couple working on Family History: excerpt below]. 

"Back to Cusco for a Day of Discovery event and workshop in Estaca Cusco.  Among the attendees is Hna Norma, one of our most diligent members in Historia Familiar.  The family research she has done is quite amazing in detail and accuracy, and Hna J assists with makeing sure it's all correct and in the right place.  Hna Norma has had some health problems, but has made an astounding recovery, and it was so great to see her here.

And when we think that we've done all we can for Hna Norma, her hija Leni arrives with more details from her esposo's family.  We are delighted to help them both, with the assistance of Elder Barry."

Monday, December 14, 2015

First Change (Transfer!) -- and a little worried about it!

I got transfered to Juli, a part of Puno. Im not really excited because we were gonna gave 2 baptisms for the minimum this change.

My new companion is Elder Sanabria. I know him a little bit, he was here in Cusco my first change here. He is cool but I heard he might not like to work that much, so that sorta sucks.

No one really wants to go to Juli, but ive heard it just all depends on how you look at it. I will be in the zone of Elder Ludlow hah, he is zone leader there.

Here are a few pics from the hike last week. Was fun!

So now I gotta pack all my stuff up, and that is the last thing I want to do right now lol! Im not really sure when I leave, its tomorrow or Wednesday, but I didnt get an email telling me, I think I will just hear from the zone leaders.

But yeah, its a branch there in Juli, not a ward. Has an assistance of like 30 or 40 I heard, gonna be a big change from around 170.

I have just heard through grapevine that my new companion might not like to work that much, which sorta sucks. In presidentes letter to me this week, it was like:

"The lord has put his trust in you here , you guys are going to be very isolated, (we only see the zone leaders once every change), you will need to choose to be an 100% obedient missionary, or a mediocre missionary like your companion might want to be." and a lot more like that, it sorta scares me.

[We obviously tried to cheer Connor up a bit -- and I told him to just forget about that potential issue for the moment and try to enjoy the "adventure" of such a big transfer!  Juli is a fairly small place -- I will post some info / pics of it below Connor's email.  I just told him to give his new companion a week and if not working as hard he wants after that point to just gently "take charge" and do the work!]

Yeah so the bus ride to Juli is going to be like 10 hours I presume, ugh!.

Im hoping that too, I really want to skype. [In response to my worry that such a small place in the boonies will have internet access! :)] I guess the good thing is we will be able to skype for a good bit of time, as I bet my new companion will want to skype for a lot of time, hah.

Im just a little sad to leave Cusco, and go to a branch of 30 members! I will give like talks more I imagine.

But I cant say anything yet, maybe he will want to work hard, we will just have to see.

So yeah my time is up, Ill talk to you guys next week, keep me in your prayers!

Love you guys!

-Elder Barry

[Juli Peru:  Here is a google map to location.  Basically it is about as far south / east as he can go in his mission and is on the shore of Lake Titicaca.]

[Here are some pictures of Juli I found on internet.]

Monday, December 7, 2015

Maybe the last week in Cusco?

Well this week has been alright.

We worked super duper hard, and I have been really tired the entire week. We have been trying to bring members to the lessons, but its super hard but we still managed to have 13 lessons with investigators this week (each had a member present).  We had 51 references asked and 32 contacts!

This week we knocked a door and an old lady answered, apparently her kids are less active members and she "wants to get baptized" now, pretty cool how that worked.

Im not really sure how the skype account thing will work for our Christmas live call, but we will find out here pretty soon. :)

Today we are going to go to balcon del diablo again but just with another pair of elders. Im the only one of out all of us who has gone before (I'm just too old / been here too long in Cusco!)

So I can tell you that the time sure does go by a lot faster when we are working hard, but yesterday I fell asleep in like 5 seconds. My comp went downstairs to use the bathroom and when he came up I was already asleep.

This red sweater picture is just in our house, its a new sweater I bought for 35 soles, like $10, I like it a lot. :)

This is a picture of my historic coin collection!  I am missing less than 12 (which the picture shows) I actually have like 4 more.  Im just not sure where to put them, its hard to tell sometimes. But yeah, some elders trade and such, but I dont know any that want to trade right now. I have more than everyone else in the district right now, guess I am just lucky getting them.

This last picture is with me and another elder, and was taken like 1 hour ago. Thats one of the elders from Ttio district of Cusco, but they are super cool, we are going to balcon to diablo today together and later going to play soccer.

So next week by this time I will know if I am going to be moved in this next change, only 1 week left in this change, super weird.

[We had asked Connor how he mostly got around in Cusco and how his shoe's were holding up!]

We usually walk all the time, because we are SUPER poor all the time. We found out from our Mission President that we are actually the poorest mission in the world. We receive the least amount of money every change out of EVERY mission. Crazy! Only district leaders, zone leaders and assistants have cell phones in the mission, crazy.

Shoes are holding up fine, bit a pain to have to shine shoes, but I try to not dirty them too much so I can just dust em off every morning.

We are gonna finish up internet really soon here to leave, but crazy experience this Sunday.

So this Sunday was fast Sunday, and it was fast and testimony meeting. So there is this crazy guy that has been coming to our ward for years. Hes not a member, and he loves to argue. He like ran up as fast as he could when testimony time began, hobbling with his cane and started like yelling in the mic and stuff, the bishop had to like escort him down haha.

My companion wanted to visit this crazy guy the following week, so we made an appointment but we found out that day that he doesn't even live in our sector (so he shouldn't even be coming to our ward), so we couldn't go. The crazy man came up to us and started reciting some scriptures from the bible. He was like "Malditos son los que no cumplen con su palabra", which means like, cursed are they who dont do the things they say they would or something like that, super crazy guy.

But yeah, think we are going to leave here soon, we have like 5 min left!

So our time is up, see you guys next weeeeeek!