Friday, July 18, 2014

Mail! I get mail!

Every week, each of the 210 missionaries in the Mission are to write me a letter, letting me know how they are doing.
Luckily, it's no longer like that, as they now arrive by e-mail.
OK, maybe that's not such a good thing either.  However, it does allow me to read them from wherever I am.
OK, so I couldn't get wif-fi up there after all, but it was a darn good idea.
Anyway, some of them come a bit on the long side, 
while others are a bit short to tell me much.
When I have time, I try to answer as many as seems reasonable.
I am honored that the missionaries share with me accounts of faith and hard work, of difficulties overcome, of blessings rendered to their families for their hard work, and of course of disappointments.  I get to see them grow through their experiences, and sometimes help them with answers.
However, we hope that your in-box is a little less full on Monday afternoons.
Dave & Paula

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Give it a different name! Yeah, that's it!

Among the many interesting phenomena observed in the Mission are those having to do with changes in altitude.  As you know, we go from low in the jungle to high in mountains, often within hours.
This can cause interesting changes in volume of objects, because of the change in pressure.
Example:  Us in Huancayo (actually across the valley, in Chupaca, you know, like Chewbaca).
This is us in La Merced, in the jungle, where the lower altitude translates in to much higher ambient pressure.
And, this is us in Cerro de Pasco, at 14,400 feet, where the lower pressure allows objects to expand.  Or maybe it was just the Chinese food, you know, with all the MSG (and all those calories...).
Anyway, such differences can cause havoc with normal recipes, as well as the clothing budget.
The other night, Paula decided to cook her famous Harry Nillson Cake, in which one does place the lime and the coconut, and mix 'em bot' up, for those of you old enough to remember the song.
All was going well, until she noticed that with the lower ambient pressure, and the well-known effect of lowering the boiling point at altitude, things were happening that shouldn't have been.
Instead of rising up nice and fluffy, it was doing something entirely different (actual simulated photograph).
In the end, when the bubbling had stopped and the smoke had cleared,
it didn't look quite as expected.  Tasted OK, but Harry Nillson would have come back from the grave if his name had been applied.  So, what do you do?
Exactly!  Scrape it out of the pan, plop on some vanilla ice cream, and give it a new name.
And thus was born Torta Limón a la Huancaina!  Served only in the best restaurants, and the missionaries never knew the difference.
We hope that your altitudinally-challenged culinary attempts go better.
Dave & Paula

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Well, I'll be!

Against all odds, we have finished the first of our three years here in Perú.  We arrived last year on June 29th, confused as we could be, but awe-struck by where we were.
Though it didn't sink in at the time, I have realized since that the 107 missionaries who were in the Mission at the time were very uneasy about what the New President and His Wife were going to be like.  Was he going to be mean?  Nice?  Old and cranky?  Not-so-old and cranky?  What?!
We have learned a lot in the last year, raising the possibility that we will learn a lot in the next year also.  We have been very lucky to not have any more serious illnesses than we've had (one), and not very many missionaries who have had to end their assignment early.
I wonder a lot about my effectiveness, but I am reassured when I am around our missionaries, and feel their love and desires to do what's right.
We are looking forward (uneasily) to the next couple of years.
Dave & Paula