Monday, August 8, 2016

Into the Jungle

I´ll miss Junín. We had some  good friends up there, including my Pensionista and her daughter, and her brother who hopefully got baptized two days ago. The President's family were really important to me, and are some of the first people I'll look up when I revisit Peru years from now. I grew so much there...I'll look back on it in the manner that one might faintly remember that mortal thrill of challenge and change, long after taking their heavenly rest in the stately courts above.

Because, oh yes, I'm in Paradise.

The jungle isn't just perfect for its climate, or its strong wards, or the unbelievably successful work. It's everything- waking up in the morning to the sun on your pillow, the sweet air, the prospect of baptizing in pools beside waterfalls, the friendly members with references, all the small things. Yes, after one of my first days I got so violently ill I had to go to the hospital to get some fluids back, but heck, even that was fun. I'm going to be just like my father's father when I grow up...I joked with all the doctors, told complicated Spanish puns as they took my blood, and when I had to knock on a door, it was accompanied with, "It's the missionaries!"  My companion and the Zone Leaders said they never had so much fun in a hospital.

The real focus here is the young men. You know those Mormon Message videos where twenty people all suddenly decide to get baptized or come back to church just based on one invitation and the general ridiculous message seems to be, "This can be your ward too if you just have more faith and invite your friends"? Yeah, those probably started here. We had two young men attending a couple months ago, and by the time I got here, the Elders had brought ten or more back. Three more will be baptized this month, and all are genuine and trying so hard to change. It's magnificent. You hardly walk down the street without tripping on a golden investigator.

Ah, well. I'm exaggerating a bit. Life is wonderful, but it still calls for hard work, and changing the moral trajectory of anyone calls for focus. Nevertheless, I'm quite happy here in my new area. The field is white already to harvest.

Elder Burt, saying goodbye to Junín.