Called to the Peru Cusco Mission
Reports to the MTC November 17, 2010

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Walk by the Lake

Firstly, an apology, the 'net here is really slow today so I can't send pics.  Hopefully next week.

Anyways a story from the field.

Thursday we had planned to do service in the afternoon for a member helping him to move bags of sand (they turned out to weigh more than us, 80 kilos or 160lbs each) but that wasn't till 3pm so in the time we had between lunch and that we went contacting by the lake, most people have plazas in there sectors, we have one of the largest lakes in the world.  I think we won on that one.  Anyways, after talking to a few people I approached this man that was looking out at the lake and we began to talk.  In what was somewhat surprising he turned out to be mildly drunk and we talked to him as best we could, inviting him to the church and trying to help him a bit (he said he wanted to change from drinking).  We left him a pamphlet on the Word of Wisdom and told him we would come see him that next night.  Now skip forward about two hours.

After having moved about 20bags each we were then putting sand into the bags so that two other guys would move them inside and our friend from the lake showed up.  He was much more sober and we began to talk with him again.  As it turned out his name was Raul not Paolo like we thought and he began to tell us why he was there.  When we walked up to him he was contemplating going somewhere and killing himself because of some things that had happened (he didn't tell us what) but that thanks to us he was back on the wagon of life.  Elder Montorrosso and I couldn't believe it!  We had literally saved this guys life.  We have an appointment with him tomorrow and it should be interesting.

It's just awesome to see what good we can do if we try here, and how much the Gospel can help people.  Maybe it was just that we talked to him, but I believe it was more that he saw that through a God that loves him Raul had another way out of his problems.

So, on a bit of a lighter note, Q&A Time!

How big is the ward you are serving in?

---Victoria has about 100 active members which for a ward here is HUGE, normally it's only about 70-80 active members.

Do you see other missionary more now?

---Yes, with much more frequency, like almost every day.

What time does your ward meet?

Who does you laundry and how does that work?

---We have our bag of dirty clothes which, here in Puno, is picked up by a laundramat ran by members...I think that the word is laundramat, I don't remember and there isn't a gringo near me right now to ask.

How do you get your "allowance" every month?  How much is it?

---We have a credit card which at the beginning of each month gets loaded up with the funds for our pension, cuarto etc. and we pay out of that.  Here in the city it is about 500soles but in Lampa it was about 580soles because we needed a larger transport fund (2.50soles each way at least 2 times a week adds up fast).

Since this area is larger in active members, do you eat with the members?

---No, at least not yet...

And that about wraps it up.  Questions, comments, concerns, you know where to send them.  And feel free to do so.

Till next week,

--Elder Will Sowards

La Victoria, Puno, Puno

Snail Mail:
Elder Will Sowards
Jeron Ricardo Palm
Manzana A Lote 2 4to Piso
Urb. Santa Monica
Cusco, Perù

Monday, July 18, 2011

Puno.....Just Puno

Well, it would seem the Lord has a funny sense of humour.  Why?  Three guesses what the name of my new area is...

No.  No.  and No.

I am now living and working in an area named La Victoria.  Yes, I really need to find a shirt for Mom with this one.

My new companion is Elder Montorroso, who is practically our neighbor there in Arizona...well except for the fact that we have Mexico between us.  He lives about 2hours away from the Mexican border in Guatamala and is awesome!  Immediately we hit it off and it has just been awesome fun working together here and with the ward.

Yes, I said ward.  It is so cool, and frankly a bit weird after working in a town with only about 15 members, to  have the chance to work with a ward in an area here in Puno.  Yes, I am in Puno near the center and about well a 5minute walk away from Lake Titicaca.  Not only that but everything is way closer now, for example our zone meetings are now only a 10minute walk from the room not a 45minute drive and 15minutes by moto-taxi.  I'll save the stories for next week because I'm running a bit low on time but suffice it to say that La Victoria is AWESOME.  And with a name like that why wouldn't it be.

Which leads me to the Q&A time:

Is it warmer or colder there?
---Well, it's about equal during the day but at night warmer, but that could be because I'm no longer living on the second floor of an adobe building with a whole-filled wooden floor.

How is your area?
---About equal to the size of Lampa, yes it was that small.

How is your room?
---Pictures to come next week of the room and a few other things.

How did you get there and how long did it take?
---It took about an hour to get here and we came by combi (think mini-bus)

Are you going to post pictures?
---Next week, and this time I mean it.

Do they eat the same types of foods there that you ate in Lampa?
---Almost 100% the same but we now have a real pension not just a restaurant (even though El Tambo was awesome!) a bit more well home-y.

Was it sad to leave Limpa?
---A bit after 6 months in a spot you grow some connections.

Well that about does it for this week.  Question, comment, concern, you know where to send them.  To come next week, photos of the room, and of the Puma...but it looks like a warthog...for those who get it, props are given.

Till next week,

Elder Will Sowards
La Victoria, Puno, Puno

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And So It Ends....

So, guess who has two thumbs and a change?!  THIS GUY!  And guess where I’m going!

Wait for it…PUNO!  Yes, farther south and a bit colder, looks like at this rate I might be in Bolivia by the end of my mission.  But it’s going to be awesome, I was talking to Elder Eggleston, one of our zone leaders, he has been there a LOT of time and gave me the lowdown, I can’t wait to get down there.  But where exactly I will be going will have to wait till next week because I don’t even know yet.

Anyways, this week was fun and interesting, we ran into a few families one of which asked me to be their kid’s godfather which Elder Merkley later explained means cutting the kids hair for the first time when he has about three years then helping with expenses.  That made it a little less cool, but nonetheless we had only contacted them the day before.
Wilbur, our investigator with a baptismal date for this week and was going to baptize his family the next is going to be baptized next week.  He told us he really needed to ask forgiveness of one of his cousins and wouldn’t feel good about being baptized before doing it and we felt that it would be best.

Also, a side note.  One day in the latter parts of my mission when I don’t have a lot to say ask me about Norma and her son Tin-Tin.  ‘Nuff said on that for now.

Well, hey!  Look what time it is!  It’s question, its question time!  (Only those who have seen Flight of the Concords will get that, sorry.)

Are there any cool climbing / hiking areas that you have seen down there?
---There is a really sick looking mountain here near Juliaca and another near Cusco that would be pretty awesome to summit, but otherwise I really don’t know of much.

How is Alex doing? Do you ever get to help him at school?
---Fantastic especially after a box showed up from a loving mother with stuff for his wife and daughter.  It was so cool giving it to him, I felt like Santa Claus (or as it goes down here, Papa Noel, you can’t deny it’s more awesome).

How are the news papers down there? Can you ever write a article for then about the Church?
---That is an email all on its own.  But I don’t know, we might be able to.

How did you spend your 4th?
---Eating some awesome Chinese food, playing soccer and as usual going to the Cachina.

Well, till next week; Elder Sowards, reporting from Juliaca but soon from Puno.
Snail Mail:
Elder Will Sowards
Jeron Ricardo Palm
Manzana A Lote 2 4to Piso
Urb. Santa Monica
Cusco, Perù

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th

Hi, all!

A really quick note because I’m almost out of time.

Wilbur, the dad of the Coila family that I talked about last week is going to be baptized this week and we are working with the bishopric here so that the week later he can baptize his family.

We found a new investigator named Selinda who is a ROCKSTAR!  We left her a Book of Mormon and asked her to read Alma 42, she read the chapter and all the way to 1 Nephi 4, about 20 pages, in two days.


Dad says you stand on a box and preach in a public square....Is he full of it?
---Yes, yes he is.

What are you doing to celebrate the 4th of July??
---We were going to go to Puno but plans changed so we don’t exactly know what we will do.

Do the Peruvians celebrate any type of national holidays?
---The 28th of July is their Independence Day and there are some other ones that…well…to be honest I think they are just excuses to party.

Is it mentally weird to think it is July and you are freezing?
---You have no idea, every single gringo here feels like it’s Christmas time.

Do they have fireworks for sale down there?
---I will neither confirm nor deny nothing.
Are gone out of Lampa every P-day? If so why?
---We are because we have a zone meeting every Monday so we do things as a zone afterward we usually get back in Lampa around 5pm to work.

Where is your closes Temple that the member go to? How long does it take them to get there?
---Right now the closest is in Cochabamaba, Bolivia; but in a few years it will be Arequipa.  The former is about 8 hours, the latter about 4 to 6.

Well that does it for questions and this 4th of July email, to those of you state-side be safe and have fun.  And to close I leave you with this.

The thought of four gringos singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with a bunch of Latins at the end of a Zone Meeting.

This has been Elder Sowards, signing out.

Snail Mail:
Elder Will Sowards
Jeron Ricardo Palm
Manzana A Lote 2 4to Piso
Urb. Santa Monica
Cusco, Perù

Saturday, July 2, 2011


June 27, 2011
Well, it has been an interesting week here in Lampa, Tuesday was Dìa de Lampa, and basically the city’s anniversary and well when everyone was partying working became rather difficult.  But we have found an awesome family, the Coilas!

We were tracking the week before and met the dad who was cool but we weren’t exactly certain if he actually wanted to listen to us or just debate points of doctrine.  But, when we came back on Tuesday he and the rest of his family were extremely interested.  The rest of the week we went every day to see what was going on with them and to teach.  The really awesome part being when we came on Thursday to help him make bricks from adobe, sorry for the lack of pictures on that one but both Elder Sanchez and I forgot to bring our cameras.  Let’s just say the world needs to appreciate more the small red cube.

On Saturday night we met with Wilbur (the dad), Erick  (his 12-year-old son), and Edit (the mom) with Estanislao (one of the coolest members we have here) and taught the importance of the Sabbath.  Wilbur had a lot of questions about why Sunday and not Saturday which we explained and asked him to pray about it to know for himself.  He told us he would and that if we said it he thought it was probably true because he had already received his answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true but he still is going to pray.

He and his family are just awesome but his wife has a challenge with leaving a few of the customs that are here in Lampa but we have faith that they will be baptized.

Do you drink a lot of soda pop? If so do is there any Peru pop you like? or do you stay with the US kind?
---Not really a lot but sometimes, and I’ll be honest the Peruvian stuff is way better than what is in the states.

Do you have Zone conference and if so how often?
---We were supposed to have one a few weeks ago but because of all the stuff going on down here near Puno it has been postponed indefinitely.

How many llamas have you seen?

Well, that about does it for this week if you want to send me a letter or email feel free at:

Snail Mail:
Elder Will Sowards
Jeron Ricardo Palm
Manzana A Lote 2 4to Piso
Urb. Santa Monica
Cusco, Perù

Till next week, I’m Elder Sowards and this has been LAMPA.
And that came out kinda lame.

--Elder Will Sowards
Lampa, Puno, Perù