Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Day at the Beach...Missionary Style - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

(**Note to reader: Clicking on highlighted words will link to more information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

As Christmas gets closer, the weather is getting warmer. Little by painful little. It's really hot in mid-day and back to the 60's by night time. We did a service project as a multi-stake group at the beach, and there was absolutely nobody there besides us. Yep, I guess the water is still really cold.

Well, to elaborate on the service project, we went to Ancon to pick up garbage. We had a phenomenal turnout of more than 250 people, and we wore shirts that said, ''Mormon Helping Hands, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints.'' We got really good exposure from the city and several people were interviewed. That was exciting!

This week, Elder China and I found seven new investigators and some of them are families! Sadly none of them went to church on Sunday, but we have appointments with them this week. We're excited to see if any of them progress. We're getting in the door much easier by sharing a Christmas message. There are a bunch of churches that, for one reason or another, don't celebrate Christmas. So people are pretty excited to hear from a church that believes in Christmas. It's a great opportunity to share the story of Samuel the Lamanite and introduce the Book of Mormon. It's really nice!
Hermana Eva's Christmas Tree
Elder China and I helped decorate it!

Well, let's talk about something fun...healthcare. My American friends, I will never complain about healthcare in the States ever again. The population here calls every illness whether it be a cold, a fever, a stuffy nose, chills, food poisoning, or a headache, the ''gripe,'' which translated means, ''flu.'' When you ask someone how they're doing, they'll tell you, ''I'm with the gripe,'' rather than saying they're just sick in general. This has led to oodles and oodles of remedies and fears of illness. Yesterday we asked a lady what she hopes for from God and she told us at least 10 times, ''First, and most importantly, health. For me, my kids, my grand kids.'' Health and sickness is on the forefront of many people's minds.

So, I haven't really been sick much in Peru. With the weather being bipolar, I'll get a cold or stuffy nose but over all I've been blessed with very good health, especially compared to the other North Americans. This was the case until three or four weeks ago when I got a bad case of the stomach flu or food poisoning. We were walking to an appointment and I felt like I needed to vomit, so we went to a member's house so I could hurl in their bathroom. Afterwards I felt better, so we went to the appointment but they weren't home. Then the sick feeling came back and I threw up about three times at the Bishop's house, so we decided to go home for the day.

Now, let me run through the steps of healthcare, as I've observed it, here in Peru:

1. My companion thought I should receive a Priesthood blessing, so I did.
2. A sister from the ward (congregation) saw us, and when we explained why we were in a rush she picked up a weed from the ground and gave me instructions how to prepare it and eat it.
3. When we stopped by an investigator's house to cancel our appointment, he told me to get to the hospital as fast as I could.
4. As we got home, I was feeling terrible, went straight to bed, and hoped for the end.
5. After explaining to the mom who lives in our house that I thought I just had the stomach flu, she gave me four different pills to take (she works at the hospital, so I took two of the pills and ditched the other two, along with the plant).

In 24 hours I was back to normal and feeling great. Safe to say, it was a miracle that I survived the stomach flu and everyone was happy to see me alive and well :)

I'm giving a talk in church this Sunday, so wish me luck! I wish all a Merry Christmas! I'll be home for Christmas in two years... ;)

Oh, I'm pretty much famous here because of Hannah's companion. Oh, and I found a scripture about eating fruit in South America, Revelations 9:10, haha!

Elder Avery

Dear Dad,

I'm missing you guys too, don't worry :) Christmas isn't the same in the mission field but hey, it's not about me, it's about Him. It's nice to hear the good things that people do for other people. I've been reading "The Missionary Commission," by Bruce R. McConkie, and it really sets the tone for what I should be doing. I should be serving and ministering in the way Christ would serve and minister. It's a lot of pressure, but little by little I'm getting the hang of it.

I've never had a stronger testimony of the Gospel, but I can't always get through to people. It takes faith to trust in the Lord, and that can be a really hard step for some people...trusting that they will receive blessings if they obey. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, and nothing less. Ugh...I'm a little bummed out.

On the bright side, the Church is true! If nobody else knows it, at least I know it. My mission call says that I will learn what it was like for Christ to minister, and overall it's amazing.

Well Dad, I miss you and hope you're doing well. I may not seem like it, but I'm doing fine. My next preparation day (P-day) will be the 24th, and I think I'm calling home the 24th or 25th. I still don't know. We do have a webcam in the house where I live, so we'll be fine :)

Preparing for Christmas in Peru (December 10, 2013)

Merry Christmas from Peru! (December 24, 2013)

Elder China, Hermanas Eva and Veronica, and Elder Avery