Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 54 - Climbing to New Heights (Salkantay 20,600 Ft)

Hola,

Another real quick week. This week we were super busy getting ready for the visit of Elder Uceda from the seventy (he is the guy who talked about Cusco in General Conference in October). So it has been really crazy getting ready for that along with all of the changes that are happening today in the mission. Overall everything is going well so far, just a whole lot of work for us here in Cusco.

Anyway so to get started this past week, I just want to tell you all about how the work is going with some investigators. First off, I think I told you all about Hugo and his story. Well, we are still continuing to teach him, his wife, and his son. But he is beginning to progress very well. This past we had a really powerful lesson with him in which the Spirit testified to him very powerfully. Perhaps the coolest part was the miracle that happened after testifying to him. With tears in his eyes he told us that he would be at church on Sunday and that he felt something as we taught him. He said he really wanted God to give him an answer in his life and really wanted to do all he could to get an answer, so he told us he would be at church. He seems to be progressing very well and although at times it’s not always as fast as we want it to be, I know that our Heavenly Father is slowly preparing him.

This week we also had another really cool lesson with the little girl named Juliana and her mom. Her mom is super hard to teach. Literally any concept we try to teach them, her mom whips out her Bible and is always trying to find a scripture that proves us wrong. However, we used to always respond with another and it would turn into a big mess. So in this visit we had this week, we were going in with the mentality that we wouldn’t respond with a scripture and not try to prove ourselves right but rather to let the Spirit convince her that we were right. As we went into the visit we started teaching and the mom started trying to bash us but as we did continued without responding, we bore testimony that the things we were teaching were correct and as we did this there was a change in the eyes of the mom and a new desire to listen to us. For us, it was a miracle because we know that slowly our Heavenly Father will also change her desires to learn and someday be baptized.

One other big thing that happened this past week is for the past like month or so there has been strikes in Cusco and really just all over Peru because all of the teachers here want to make more money. So they have been doing way crazy things such as blocking off the cities so that no tourism buses can enter, taking over Machu Picchu for a day and also throwing rocks at taxis on certain days that they are strike. So it literally has been super crazy here in Cusco for the past month or so and we are hoping that at some point the government will do something. But in the meantime the strike just keeps getting worse and this week the government declared a state of emergency in Cusco one night and we had to be inside past a certain time. No need to worry though, we are all good here as far as missionaries go, no one does anything to us because the all know who we are and who we represent.

Finally like I have previously mentioned before since I am in the office, we have our P-Days on Saturday before changes and this past Saturday we went to Salkantay (elevation 20,600 ft)  which is a way cool mountain a few hours from Cusco that has a really incredible and beautiful lake called Lake Humantay (elevation 13,800 ft). If you have ever seen pictures of it, you would think that I was visiting the Caribbean except for the fact that there are huge snow topped mountains behind. Overall the trip was really cool and it was a very interesting experience to hike up to it because it’s very steep and the altitude is way high. So most tourists take like 2 hours to get up it because they quickly lose their breath in the high altitude and have to sit and rest for a while but all of us were able to get up it in like 45 minutes because we are all super acclimatized to it hahaha!

In closing I just want to wish you all a very Happy Pioneer Day! This week I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the sacrifices of my ancestors. Those who made the sacrifice to become members of the Church and those who have continually lived it. I am so grateful to be a member of the Church and for the sacrifices that my ancestors and parents have made for me to get me to the point where I am now. I love you all and hope you have the best week!

Love,

Elder Fawcett



Lake Humantay and the Salkantay Mountains
The Salkantay trek is one of the most difficult to undertake from Cusco and National Geographic lists it as one of the top treks in the world. Besides the stunning beauty of the Cordillera de Vilcabamba, the Salkantay Mountain was one of the most holy places in Inca religion. Indeed it is one of the two most holy apus (mountain spirits that protect indigenous communities), in part because the Southern Cross appears directly above this snow-capped mountain on the summer solstice.  At the foot of Salkantay sits Lake Humantay which sits at approximately 13,800 feet.  This hike to this majestic lake is listed as Moderate to Difficult.















































































































































Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 53 - Taking Care of Business in Abancay and Andahuaylas

Hola,

This past week was literally the busiest week ever!!! I cannot believe it’s already another Monday. Anyway so to get started on what happened in my week, let me first start by telling you about last Monday. So my trainer, Elder Iza, came at the end of P-day to Cusco because his Companion had to be treated for a health problem here. So, my Companion went with his Companion to the doctor and I went with Elder Iza to visit the family I have been telling you about for the past few weeks or so. In the visit we decided to do an assessment of how they were progressing so we shared a message about the importance of the doctrine of Christ. We taught about the 5 principles (Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End) and as we testified of each of them, they had questions. As we got to the Baptism and the Holy Ghost, they asked why they needed to be baptized again (we had explained this several lessons ago but most people take a while to understand why) and so we explained to them why. As we did this, we felt the Spirit testify to them of the truthfulness of what we taught. At the end, they said they wanted time to ponder on whether it was something they wanted to do, so we invited them to pray and ask our Heavenly Father if they needed to be baptized again. I can honestly say that it was one of my favorite visits I have had while I have been here in Cusco, that and teaching with my trainer again was super cool!

Anyway, this week my Companion, Elder Ordoñez and I also had the opportunity to travel to Abancay and Andahuaylas to take care of some other direct payments that we are setting up in all with all of the doctors in the mission. Abancay is like 5 hours from Cusco and Andahuaylas another 2 hours from there. So as we got there (it was Wednesday, my Hump Day), I was able to burn my shirt. Now I know most of you will probably think I am crazy for burning a shirt since I am living in such a poor country where someone else could have used it but the shirt was absolutely destroyed because a while back one of my pens that was in the shirt pocket exploded and there is literally no possible way to get stains that bad out here so I just saved it to burn it. I was honestly surprised how fast and well the shirt burned… just made me realize that I don’t want my shirt to ever catch on fire while I am wearing it!

After several days in Abancay and taking advantage of the warm climate there, we came back here to Cusco. The road to Abancay is literally the worst bus ride I have ever been on (I thought Quillabamba was bad) so I spent the last hour of the ride in the Bus bathroom throwing up which wasn’t very fun…. Sorry probably a little more info than you wanted but hey it was a part of my week I guess. Hahaha. Once back here in Cusco we got right back to work taking care of several things here in office. I have been writing and working with several legal contracts lately for the renting of apartments in the mission and dealing with the legal aspects of that for all of the 160 missionaries here, which has been a lot of work but taught me a lot of things in the process.

One last story for the week. So, Saturday my Companion and I just went out and contacted tons of people. It is a lot harder to contact here in Cusco compared to other Zones that I have visited, so at times it is a lot harder to get good solid contacts. After like 15 failed attempts Elder Ordoñez and I were super frustrated. We were about to give up but, something super cool happened. As we decided to knock the very last door of the street a guy opened up. When he saw us he said no thanks and started to close the door but before that happened I just offered to help him with any service that he may need. It must have really caught him off guard because he stopped closing the door and asked what we wanted. We explained we were representatives of Jesus Christ and that we had a message to share with him. After talking it turns out he thought we were just trying to bother him so he decided that he wanted to hear more. So we set up another visit with him for this week.

I love the work I am doing here and the blessing I have to share the message of the Gospel with the wonderful people here in Perú. A year from now this will all just be a memory and I want it to be a memory without any regrets. So I will strive each day to do the very best I can. I love the Savior and his teachings that teach me how I can become more like him. I love you all and wish you all the best week!

Love

Elder Fawcett


My, What a Difference One Year Has Made!


One Year Ago When It All Began!!




One Year Later And After A Lot Of Growing Opportunities!!!



Elder Fawcett in Abancay











My "Ink Stained" One Year Shirt











One Year in the Mission











My Camel for Hump Day!!!













Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 52 - University of Life / Hump Day!!!

Hola!!!

Well this week I officially hit my HUMP DAY!!! To be completely honest with you, I am really sad that I have only a year left here in Perú. I absolutely love my mission and I have learned so much. Looking back and reflecting on the first year in my mission and before I left, I realize how much of a different person I am now! I would have never imagined what my life would be like now as I stepped on the plane and began my journey here to Perú. I feel like the Lord has blessed me with so many incredible experiences, miracles, and many difficulties these past 12 months of my mission. As I remember the person I was a year ago, I know that these changes have been exactly what our Heavenly Father wanted and that I am learning what he intended for me to learn. The mission really is the University of Life that everyone talks about. It teaches you and prepares you for the future in ways that no other experience could. If I were to picture myself as I walk off the plane next year, I know that I will be even more different then than I am now. I am so grateful and blessed to have been called to serve in this beautiful mission, to these humble and incredible people, in this very special and sacred time of missionary work. One of my goals when I left for the mission was to give my mission all that I have. To Serve with All of my heart, might, mind and strength and I can honestly say that this past year I have done the very best that I could and given it my All. I look forward to the coming year and the challenges that I will face and pray that the Lord will be at my side through every moment, just like he has been through this past year.

This past week seemed to go unusually fast. I haven’t even hit the year mark yet, but it seems like I am already just flying down the hump as far as time goes. To talk about this week I just want to start and tell you about what we did for P-Day today. So as you all have seen, on P-days, we are literally touring and going to all of these super incredible ruins that there are to see here in Cusco and surrounding it because there literally is so many places to go. Well, today we went to 3 areas that were really neat. First stop was a Catholic Cathedral (I know a Mormon missionary at the Catholic Cathedral, probably interesting sight) that was built by the Conquistadors when they came to Perú and started attacking and forcing the Incan people to become Catholic or be killed. Well, this Cathedral was built and is the place where many Incan people were forced to attend church and participate in the religious ceremonies. We had the chance to go inside this church and I can honestly say as I entered, I felt the Spirit leave just as I entered the church. It was really quite interesting and just by being inside you could feel that this was a place where the Inca people had been. It was prohibited to take photos inside so I sadly was only able to take some outside. Today we also went to Rumiqolqa and Pikillaqta which are 2 Incan ruin cites that we visited located relatively near the Cathedral. The more ruins I see, the more of a testimony it is to me that the ruins were built by the decedents of Lehi. It truly is incredible to live in such a historically and archaeological place, I seriously love it!

As far as the work goes this week, my Companion, Elder Ordoñez and I have been contacting like crazy and finding and teaching lots of new people. It certainly is not as easy as teaching all day, but we know the Lord will bless us as we continue to look for the people that he has prepared for us. One such person we have been working with is named Felix. He is the father of a family that consists of member and nonmembers. Throughout the years, he has had visits from various missionaries and has had many opportunities to hear the Gospel. As we found him and began to get to know him, I immediately felt that we needed to begin visiting him again. Even after having so many missionaries through the years, I know that it may just take him hearing the right testimony to get baptized. Whether that is from me, my Companion or missionaries a year from now, I know that the Lord needs him on his side.

Another cool thing this week is we were teaching a family that also has been listening to the missionaries for several years. We were getting ready to drop them because they were not really progressing all that well and didn’t really seem to be all that interested anymore. The last visit we planned to have with them, we talked about the importance of the Savior in each of our lives and how important it is to follow him. As we testified of the Savior and his love for each of us, we realized that we shouldn’t give up on them quite yet and should be patient with them, just as the Lord has continually been patient with me in my life.

Final story for the week. So there is this little man that is probably 4 feet tall (his feet don’t even touch the floor when he sits down, really small guy), around 75 years old, and speaks only Quechua was baptized here in Cusco awhile back. He speaks literally no Spanish and collects plastic soda bottles on the side of the road for a living has started attending our Ward. Like I said, he literally speak NO SPANISH and there are only a select few people that can talk to him. His story goes that he one day had a dream in which God told him he needed to come to our Church, so he began attending and the missionaries (with the help of a translator) baptized him. He has been to Church every Sunday since and since he doesn’t speak Spanish I don’t know that he actually gets much out of the lessons. But the one thing I do know is that he has a testimony. This past Sunday I walked up to him and spoke to him in the tiny bit of Quechua that I know and welcomed him to Church. With a smile on his face he responded. Expecting not to understand his response I turned to leave when he responded and somehow I understood enough to know that he was saying that he was happy to be here.

So in closing, I guess the point I am trying to get to is first off God can bless you with the gift of interpretation of tongues (I do not know hardly any Quechua) and secondly that there are people who have it harder than YOU do. This guy hasn’t missed a day of Church since he became a member and yet he doesn’t understand what is even going on in the meetings, but still he knows what he is doing is that which is correct. As I have served my mission I have learned countless times that there are people who sacrifice so much more to be members of this Church than we can even comprehend. The least we can do as members is to do my best to Keep the Commandments 100 percent of the time and do exactly what the Lord asks of us. I know that he does live and that he really does love each and every one of us. I have felt his love for the Peruvian people as I have served them this past year and can honestly say these people are the people the Lord intended for me to serve. I love them and enjoy the blessing of serving them each and every day. I never knew how much a call to serve a mission would change my life in just a year and I am so grateful I have a year more to give the Lord my best in the short time I have left. I love you all and wish you all a great week!

Love,

Elder Fawcett




Elder Fawcett's Penchanista Really Takes Care of the Missionaries
She Makes Sure they Celebrate Their Native Holidays!!


Catholic Church





Built By The Conquistadors










Traditional Peruvian Dances







And Costumes













Ruins of Rumiqolqa







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Ruins of Pikillaqta