Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At the top of the Mission

We're in Cerro de Pasco, which has the highest Stake Center of the Church in the world at 14,400 feet.  A "Stake" is a collection of individual congregations, usually six to twelve in number.  This is the Stake Center, behind a couple of Sister missionaries, on an unusually sunny day.
As you may know, Cerro de Pasco became one of the world's richest silver producing areas after the metal was discovered there in the 17th century.  Although the silver was largely taken out by the Spanish, it is still a very active mining center, producing lead, zinc, and still some silver.  The center of the town is occupied by one of the deepest open pit mines in the world, which continues to enlarge and force people to move.  The mines of Cerro de Pasco were a chief source of wealth for William Randolph Hearst and his family.
Now, don't you feel a bit smarter?  The conditions in Cerro can be difficult, especially for newcomers, and at this time of year, cold rain every day and sometimes snow are the norm.  
We are here for the periodic interviews with the sixteen young missionaries serving in the city, and so that I can have my monthly meeting with the leader of the Stake, a delightful 33-year old native of Cerro.
Sister Henderson goes out and works with the Sister missionaries in the different areas frequently. Tonight she's bundled up and working with a couple of great "gringas" (North Americans).
Meanwhile, I'm likewise bundled up back in the hotel room after my meeting with the Stake President.  Contrary to the web page, there is neither heat nor a secure parking place, and it's a bit on the cold side.  
We scored the Ricky and Lucy Suite, complete with double beds and English-speaking bedspreads.
However, those are just details.  We are honored to be here and to help the good missionaries in Cerro and the good people of the town, which according to the Web is the highest city in the world with more than 50K people.  Now you feel even smarter, no?
We hope that you don't have to wear your jacket and hat to bed tonight...
Dave & Paula

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Boys were back in town!

We apologize for the delay in posting, but the internet has been acting up.  I guess we should be happy to have any connection up here.
Anyway, Sam and Mike came down to Peru for nine days, as Boeing and BYU were both closed for the holidays.
So what do you show someone who is new to this part of the world?
For starters, the Obelisk of Junín, commemorating the Battle of Junín, which took place there on August 6, 1824, and marked the turning point in the military conflict for Peruvian independence.  However, 5 Soles a piece was a little steep, so we cheaped out, took the picture from afar, turned around and went on.
Can you really say that you've been here without standing in awe of the Giant Maca of Huayre?! (see here)
Or the high plains of the central Andes (13-14,000+ feet)?
Or the pigs of Cerro de Pasco?
Or the eroded weirdness of Torre Torre?
For a change of pace from the high parts of the Mission, we traveled to La Merced, in the jungle on the eastern slopes of the Andes.
We visited several of the spectacular waterfalls in the area.
The guys clambered on the rocks,
while Paula enjoyed the warmth.
Sam and Mike, in their usual discovery mode, found a room 'behind' the waterfall,
and got pounded by the falls themselves.
The second falls, 'El Velo de la Novia' (rough translation 'Bridal Veil Falls') had water that even they wouldn't brave.
Each adventure here deserves a heapin' helpin' of Inca Kola, founded in 1939, and now owned by Coca Kola.
The last evening, we found a nice hillside overlooking Huancayo, and talked for a while.
And threw rocks for a while.
And took pictures of a passing shepherdess (before she demanded payment).
The next morning, we saw the guys off at sunrise for their flight to Lima, where they spent the day with good friends before their red-eye departure for the States.
We were delighted to have them here, and miss them a lot.
We hope your family visits are as nice.
Dave & Paula