Monday, July 9, 2012

Suraquina July 8, 2012

This is one of the nicer churches that we have visited to do English with the missionaries. It is in Miraflores Sur and is built on a hill - as is the entire area.

As we were watching the jaguars on the ground at the zoo.  Elder Dibb looked up to see this one sleeping in the tree near the fence.  We wondered if he could jump over if he wanted to.  But he was just relaxing and enjoying the nice, skinny bed.

We visited Suraquina on Sunday for church.  This is the little chapel out in the middle of nowhere.  The little building to the left is the bathroom.  There is a chapel, branch president's office and a little room in the back. There is no landscaping.  This was taken from the car as we approached the building.  The houses are far apart and most of the people walk to church.  It takes them between 30 minutes and an hour to get there from their homes.  There were a few people who had bicycles.

The district president is on the left, the branch president on the right.  The smaller man in the middle is a counselor in the branch presidencies and is shaking hands with our taxi driver (who is also a member of the Church)

This little guy is the grandson of the branch president.  He did smile when we showed him the picture of himself.

The bathroom had 2 stalls with a water tank on top for flushing.  There was no other running water so nothing to wash hands with.

The Relief Society President came early and we visited for a few minutes.  She speaks a little Spanish, but mostly Aymara.  The wind was blowing and it was cold.

This shows the typical houses and  property.  This one is near the church.

These sisters are preparing some food for the meal that they have after the meetings.  They are cutting up lettuce and the little guy wants to be a part of the fun.

Ruth is a 16 year old girl we met before the meeting.  We asked her how long she had been a member of the Church.  She said she's been coming for 2 years but hasn't been baptized.  She walked over 30 minutes from her home to get there.  It was interesting to see the culture of these people - They were all very quiet and shy.  We noticed that no one greeted her, sat by her, or talked to her during the meetings. 

This is the chapel with the sisters and children.  The district president is on the front row.  All of the sisters took off their hats and put them in the windows.  Everyone kept their shawls and blankets on during the meeting.  There is no heat in the building and it was cold and cloudy - so no sun to warm things.

This is kind of the "men's" side of the chapel.  Notice that the older men have their knitted caps with the ear flaps.  They also have regular hats that they wear over the knitted caps.  The youth are near the back.  The first 2 youth on the left side passed the sacrament.  The little girls in the middle kept the shawls over their faces most of the time.  When we asked if we could get pictures, they covered their faces and shook their heads "no".

After the meetings (which were Sacrament meeting and a 20 minutes Sunday School - which they asked Elder Dibb to teach just before the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting), they laid out wheat sacks that had been sewn together for the meal.  Atapi is what they call pot luck.  Usually, they just dump all the food on the sacks and people get what they want.  That would have actually been better because they brought us a "ton" of food. Everyone just sat quietly and waited for about 15 minutes while the R.S. loaded plates.  Then the branch president and a few others brought the plates out to everyone.

This is the plate Sister Dibb got.  It has salad (which we can't eat - mission rule - along with pork and strawberries) about half a chicken, 5 potatoes, 3 sweet potatoes, ocra, and 2 fried bananas.  Everything tasted pretty good, but we prayed that the blessing would be in effect so that we wouldn't get sick.  So far, we are OK.  Because we couldn't finish all that was on our plates, we took the left-overs back to the jovenes (teenagers) at the back of the chapel.  They finished everything off like "vacuums".  That's what the members say about the missionaries.  They will eat "everything".

This is one of the little boys in the church.  Notice his red, chapped cheeks.  Because of the altitude and the strength of the sun, plus the wind, most of the people have these rosy cheeks.

We took a lot of pictures, so you will only see a few.  But these two little girls were a little shy about having their picture taken.  They liked it when they saw it.  The sister in the back is "giggling", which most of them did when they saw the pictures.

These three little girls were excited to have their picture taken.  This is the 3rd one they wanted me to take.  The oldest is 13.  We took a few Personal Progress and Duty to God books and gave them away.  We should have taken more, because I ended up giving my copy (with notes and markings) to one of the girls. Then I had a few PP journals that I gave also.  Now they need some training on how to use them.  Hopefully we didn't miss anyone.

After the meetings and lunch, many of the sisters just sat outside of the building.  We left before they went home. It made us so grateful for the blessings we have and the direction we have in the Church.  It is a hard life on the Altiplano for these people.  Most of them do a little farming and raise sheep and cows - no cars.  The travel by "mini-bus".  The counselor in the district presidency came from Huacuyo and left at 6:00 in the morning.  He took two mini buses and had to walk a total of 6 kilometers to get to the meetings.  He arrived at 11:30 for the 10:00 meeting, which started at 10:30.

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