Friday, September 26, 2014

The Forbidden Fruit!!

All missionaries in the Church are guided by a set of rules for their protection and effectiveness. Each mission may also have a few rules which are specific to it's particular features.
For instance, our missionaries are prohibited from riding in 'Ticos,' a product that I'm sure the Daewoo company of Korea would like to forget.
This is a Tico after colliding with a loose soccer ball.  Durability is not a strong point.
Likewise they are prohibited from climbing up Huaytapallana without a person approved by me, the weather has to be good, they have to stick together, and no one climbs on the glacier.
Food can likewise be problematic here.  For that reason, the missionaries are fed by pensionistas, who receive payment for providing (hopefully) sanitary meals. Missionaries are prohibited from drinking anything other than bottled water and drinks.  
And then there are specific foods that are verboten (that's Spanish, right?).
For instance, no one is to eat pork.  When one sees what the pigs feast on, the rule makes sense. There are not-infrequent deaths from trichinosis here, which is a parasite found in un-inspected pork.
Lettuce is also out.  After a bad night in an unheated bathroom at 14,400 feet, I personally will endorse that one.  Don't accept the salad at Kimbo's in Cerro de Pasco. Believe me.
Unfortunately, as ceviche is a trademark dish in Peru, and usually scrumptious, it contains raw fish, and so is on the list.  Darn.
OK, a really easy one to obey is the prohibition on eating tocosh, made by immersing potatoes in water for six to twelve months, then drying the rotten mess and putting it in soups, etc.  Ewwww!
The stench in the markets selling this stuff is enough to ensure compliance with THAT rule.
OK, finally the strawberry.  What?!  That luscious, red peak of fruit goodness?!
Yes, unfortunately, it's also a common place to pick up all sorts of microbes that ensure one's stay in the bathroom.  
However, when properly dealt with, by trained personnel,
and with adequate exposure to cleansing agents in the proper concentration and duration,
this otherwise deadly fruit can be made safe for human consumption.  That's lucky, as there is a specific strawberry season here, and they are cheap.  Paula has a family-famous recipe that is one of the tastiest desserts ever, and even looks good in the pictures.  The missionaries lucky enough to be invited that day thought they'd died and gone to dessert heaven.
We hope that your list of no-go's is not too long.
And don't eat the salad at Kimbo's.  I'm telling you.
Dave & Paula

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our first Mission Tour

Each year, each Mission is to be visited by a General Authority of the Church.  For whatever reason, our first visit was not scheduled until the last two weeks, well in to our second year.  If the truth were known, that was OK by me.  However, the tour of our Mission turned out to be uplifting, inspiring and instructive.
Elder Juan Uceda, the President of the South America Northwest Area in which our Mission is found, is from Lima, Peru, and served as a mission president during very troubled times in the country, and at a young age.  His wife also served a mission when she was younger, and they married soon thereafter.
By the way, I'm the bald guy who doesn't look as Latin.
The tour of the Mission included three conferences during which all of the missionaries had a chance to learn from Elder Uceda, as well as meetings with all of the local leaders of the Church in the Mission.
We traveled to Huancavelica, one of the more isolated cities of the Mission, and one of the very, very few that the Ucedas had not visited in the past in their various Church duties.
We also traveled to the jungle, and introduced them to our new favorite hotel, quiet, with it's own private jungle.  It was a nice brief respite on the busy tour.
During the conferences, several missionaries commented that I looked stressed.  I pointed out that it was because I was stressed.  
Again, this was a wonderful (though stressful - did I mention that?) experience, and all of us learned from President Uceda's good counsel.  As we approached the airport in Jauja to see them off to Lima, Sister Uceda laughed and said, "It's like grandkids - it's great to seem them arrive, and..."
We hope that you have such opportunities to learn from good men and women.
David & Paula

Sunday, September 7, 2014

An allergy to chocolate would be sad in this Mission

Paula (aka Sister Henderson) has always been a good cook, and after adjusting to our altitude, continues to be.  Her brownies have become legendary in the Mission, and are served during breaks at meetings, to the great delight of the missionaries.
These two weeks, Elder Uceda, the President of the five-country Area of the Church in which we are serving, is making the first official tour of the Mission.  As he is a General Authority of the Church, conferences are being held with all of the local Church leaders and the missionaries.
OK, so how much stuff does it take to make jumbo-sized brownies for about 230 people?  This much.
 Add a lot of time and getting the silly oven to stay lit, and that´s a lot of brownies!
We hope that your dessert plans are less ambitious.
Dave & Paula