What a busy week! Time sure seems to be going by faster than normal. This week the World Cup started and it is the first time Perú has gone in a very long time. People here are going super crazy and we have seen hundreds of people go take out loans so they can buy a new TV to see the games. Thursday was the first game for Perú against Denmark and the streets were absolutely deserted. Perú lost and for the rest of the day people were staring at me saying rude things. Not quite sure why but I guess for some reason they thought I was from Denmark… Most people didn’t want to listen to us but luckily Perú still isn’t eliminated so there is still hope for all of those who bought their new TVs to enjoy watching Perú for more games.
We were busy for the majority of the week teaching Karina and helping her get ready to go to a young single adult activity in Cusco soon. There are a few requirements and one of them is that she needed to have up to 4 generations complete in her family tree and it was super difficult for us to find all of her ancestors. I had no idea what a blessing it is to have so many of the documents back home indexed because here in Perú we had a really difficult time finding much of anything. Luckily we were blessed and after a lot of hard work we were able to get her not only to her 4th generation but also up to her 5th. She is progressing well and is also currently dating a Returned Missionary from my ward who is helping motivate her to continue gaining a stronger testimony of the gospel.
A lot of time was also spent working with the Stake President and trying to make some plans to help the Ward. They are really worried about the lack of leadership here and although it is getting better, we have been trying to continue to help improve the situation here for the members. One of the things we are trying to implement is the use of an Elders Quorum President which was recently called in the ward (he isn’t married so he cannot be bishop). We have been working with him and helping him understand the role that he needs to play in the ward to try and help the members and families with their needs. It is a great blessing for the ward to finally have someone to help lead and guide them.
After months of working with Milder, the barber, we finally got him to come to church with us this Sunday. He has become a great friend of ours and although it has been difficult to help him progress, he took a huge step this Sunday and set foot in the church for the very first time. It was a very spiritual experience for him and it made him want to continue feeling what he felt each week by continually attending church meetings. Just as I have stated multiple times before, I know that each and every person has the chance to progress. Sometimes it isn’t in our own time, but eventually they will feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for them and have the desire to learn more about him. Milder and his family will someday make great members of the church, even though I will not be here to see him continue to learn, I am grateful for the chance I have had to help him learn about the plan our Heavenly Father has for him and every other person here in Perú.
In closing, this week was my last Sunday in my Ward here in Manco Capac due to going to Cusco this Saturday to finish my very last Sunday in the mission in my ward there. Once again it was a very emotional and difficult experience for me as I shared my testimony with the 65 or so members present. It has been a blessing to serve in an area without a Bishop or any sort of leader. Although at times it has been quite the challenge, I am grateful for the experiences I have had and the ways in which the Lord has helped me learn and grow. I love each and every person here in Puno and am grateful for the things they have taught me and the eternal friendships that I have made here. I know that the Lord loves his children in every part of the world, no matter their situation or circumstances, I know that he is mindful of every single one of them and personally knows their needs. I am grateful to have felt his love for these people and for the opportunity to continue serving until the very last moment during this last week I have as a representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have felt the power of his everlasting atonement and know that it is so pure and perfect that if each of take the time to use it daily, we can become cleansed from our sins and become who our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I love you all and hope that you have a great week.