On the Ground in Peru & Bolivia

Hello! I’m here writing from the Choice compound in Viacha Bolivia. There are many things to report concerning the projects and the trip, but I’ll just give the highlights right now. 

We had an amazing experience in Peru this last week. The country, the people, and the whole experience were absolutely incredible. Highlights included seeing Machu Picchu, running into a large group of people we know from BYU (many of whom could become large donors and advocates), and visiting Taquile island, where we were welcomed by Tim’s friend (now the village president). He was anxious to learn about the project and offered to help in whatever way he could. They are not members, but he listened intently as Tim explained the Book of Mormon, and talked about bringing the completed videos to them to show when done. The spirit is incredibly strong amongst the Quechua people. 

We had a lot of good time spent with Juan Carlos, our local manager, talking about the project and doing training. It was so valuable to speak to him in person, and he was able to realize a lot of things that were difficult to communicate through zoom. We were able to talk about a few gotchas that come up often, and I was able to get him the money as well as a small tripod and earphones to help with the recording phase. They will begin recording this week. 

Yesterday we crossed over into Bolivia after an exhausting 3 or 4 hours at the border trying to fulfill all the entry requirements they had (none of which were online). We made it in eventually and were met by two workers from Choice. After a long drive to Viacha over horrible roads we arrived to find Willy Mendoza and the whole team working with him on the project assembled and waiting for us. We were greeted warmly and I began to explain how the project started and we watched the video Their Own Tongue together. There was a very strong spirit and we began to make plans for how to continue on to the next phase of recording. This week we will be training Willy on how to use the recording equipment, and on Wednesday we will have a meeting with the whole team about voice acting. There is incredible enthusiasm and excitement about the project and the impact it will have among the people. 

Alright, that is all for now, my laptop battery is about to die and there’s not a proper grounded outlet in this room! I will plan on giving a more full report when we return this next week.

Jonathan

The Next Step to a Better Life

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This family looks like any ordinary Mom and Dad with 3 little daughters. But they are not ordinary. Both parents grew up in outlying areas of Chiapas, Mexico. Both are indigenous, which interpreted means in the caste system in Mexico, still either consciously or subconsciously adhered to today, they garner less respect or standing in their community than a slave. They are on the bottom rung on a societal ladder they need to climb to get out of a hole of poverty and prejudice.

Around 20 years of age Armando served an LDS mission where he was forced to talk to people, look them in the eye, develop confidence in his ability to communicate and practice speaking Spanish. His wife also served a mission. He returned to his community afterwards and studied in the local University. He would like to secure a job with the federal government translating Spanish to Tzotsil, his native language. Meanwhile, he does part time work as a promotore for Escalera and has a business raising chickens.

He stands in the shell of the cement home he proudly is building for his family in San Cristobal. He took Bryson and me to a remote village to attend church a couple of Sundays ago where after the worship services we met with the local leader to ask “Are there young people here that would like to serve a mission?” We’d like to help create more families like Armando’s.

I know where I am and I know how to get back

Yesterday was Sunday. My favorite sermon of the day came from my 6 year old grandson. He was playing with his sister and cousin on the front porch below our veranda. We couldn’t see them but could hear them. My daughter, concerned the little one was ok called down. “Do you have your sister with you?”

“I know where I am and I know how to get back.”

My daughter explained there had been a traumatic experience this summer when Sam took her 6 year old to Lagoon. They had seen a little boy that was lost. After returning home, he told his mother about the incident and she used that as an opportunity to teach him what to do if he was ever alone and needed help finding his way back.

I hope I have done my motherly duty. I hope my children can recognize where they really are and when they are lost are courageous enough to admit it and sensitive enough to remember what I have taught about repentance, the Spirit so that they and will not only know the way back but return.