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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Week 2

October 22, 2012
Hello everyone!
Well we didn't have a baptism this week, Guillermo had to go to Lima for an emergency there and well...that kinda sucked but...yeah...
Tuesday was fun, P-Day for the changes and we went to Sillustani, which are a bunch of towers where the Incas burried their dead. It was AWESOME! And next week I'll send photos from there. At night we had a few appointments but some fell through and we found ourselves contacting and as I was talking to a woman that didn't really want to listen to us I had a complete epiphany. I realized that I didn't have time for maybe nor anything like that, only yes would do. I'm going to be leaving here soon and if I want to be at my best. It's the only way that I can finish this, the only way!
This week we ran into a few cool people, one of them is Elizabeth. We found her contacting and she is AWESOME! Understands everything and wants to be baptized. We also found a few others and it's just been an awesome week. The Lord is blessing us for having worked so hard for so long with little result. We are sure that we are going to have a good number of baptisms in November to end it.
So, as you might be able to tell I'm running out of stuff to write about so if you could send questions or something that would be great!
Till the next!
--Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata/Azoguine, Puno, Peru


Monday, October 15, 2012 8:58 AM

Subject: Punolandia

What's up everybody?

 So looks like I'm going to end here in Puno, which is pretty awesome!  I'm pretty psyched about that and we are hoping to have a ton of success here in my last me those are some of the weirdest words in the English and/or Spanish language.  Last change.  It doesn't feel like two years ago tomorrow that the Yotes opened at home to the Red Wings and got wrecked by bad reffing, then the next day I gave my farewell talk in our ward sounding like a 60-year-old smoker.  Ahh, fun times.... Anyways, it's just really amazing that I'm at this point of my mission.

 This week was pretty good, we found Guillermo again and placed a date for the 20th.  We also have found a few other cool people that I think will progress.  I really want to end well and we are working our butts off so that the sector and the zone can be in a good place.

 I don't know, don't have a lot to say in a general way, so I guess I'll leave it at that till next week...

 --Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

Another Week in Puno

Monday, October 01, 2012 9:15 AM

 Hi everyone!

 It's been a fun week, though a bit stressful.  Our landlord raised the price on our room so we had to find a new one which we've done but today we have to move out, since it's first of the month.  So, with that I'm going to write this up fast so we can get this done.  Anyways, I think I'll do a rundown because that seems to be the fastest way to get this done.

 Mon: A fun P-Day of futbol and what not, the normal.

 Tue: A good work day, we did a visit with Llavini (where Elder Velarde is, the elder I trained) and I was with him during the day.  It's fun to be able to work with old comps and even more fun when you have success with them!

 Wed:  District meeting and the usual stuff, a normal average fun day.

Thu:  Divisions with Mirador, we found a cool family that is interested and we'll see how they progress and it was fun to be able to get a lot of work done then.

 Fri:  Sometimes other missions ask for things from us, like birth certificates and stuff like that so that someone in their mission can get married or whatever it may be.  That is how we spent Friday, going all around town looking for a certificate that didn't exist.  But it was interesting to see how it worked I guess, but after figuring all that out we went to work and found a few new people that see fairly interested.

 Sat: Work, baptisms more work and some not as awesome stuff.  All week we have been looking for Guillermo (from last week) and have been unable to find him.  We are hoping he is just busy but....Anyways, we ended the week without a baptism which kinda sucked but we know that we'll have them before the changes.

 Sun: Church, visiting some inactives and starting to pack up the room for today.  We had no idea that there were 15 boxes of pamphlets and Books of Mormon in our room so there was a lot of consolidating and figuring out were to put stuff but now we are ready for our new room.

 I think that about does it for that part of the letter, now for QUESTIONS!

Any luck on a Canon 5D mark III?

--Still nothing, maybe they don't have it yet...

 Do you ever see or know of anyone that runs down there?

 --Never have seen it, maybe it's too high.  But if I could find someone willing enough (or crazy enough) to do it with me I would.

 Do you ever have problems with the police or are the cool to you?

---We haven't ever had problems with them, they are afraid of messing with Gringos, apparently with how Peru is a major tourism place they don't want to mess that up.

Well, that's about it, so till next week!

 --Elder Will Sowards

 Huajsapata/Azoguine, Puno, Peru



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Week

September 17, 2012

So, funny story.  I read the notes about Snuggles and audibly said, 'Oh crap, my dog died!' to which Elder Heninger replied 'WHAT?!!! YOUR MOM DIED?!!!'  'NO! MY DOG!' 'Oh, because that would have been a lot worse how I heard that....' putting that into perspective, he has a very good point.  Snuggles was a great dog and I'm going to miss her a lot.  She was awesome but everything some day needs to end, and at least she knew we loved her.  Kinda put a damper on the day that whole thing...

Anyways, it's been a great week with a lot of work and a lot of fun, I guess we'll just run it down!

Mon: Zone meeting, Internet, P-Day!  A great day in a great place!

Tue: The highlight of the day was starting the Mini-MTC with a family in Azoguine.  It's a new program that we are using in the mission that helps people learn more about how to share the Gospel and the basic stuff that we learn there.  The family is really great and extremely enthusiastic to be able to help us with it.  It's a great program and maybe I'll explain more about it on a slow week.

Wed: We had an appointment with Arturo and it was okay until we challenged him to baptism.  He stopped talking then looked at us seriously and said that he wanted to be baptised.  The week before another church had challenged him to baptism but he didn't feel anything but with us he did!  It was a great experience and an awesome testament of the power of the spirit.

 Thu: Some awesome lessons and some cool new people, a great day.
Fri: There was a HUGE parade here in Puno for the university's anniversary and not a lot of people weren't there but we found two awesome people and it turned out well.

Sat/Sun: Church, baptisms in the zone, and the hole nine-yards, just a great time.

That wraps up the week and well, I know it's not a lot but, not exactly what I was planning on writing either but with Snuggles....Keep on trucking where toilets flush normally (I really have never paid attention either there or here to know if that is true...) and we'll talk next week.

--Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata/Azoguine, Puno, Peru


September 10, 2012

Hello everyone!

I'm not quite sure where to begin so I guess we'll do a roundup!

Mon: Prepping everything for going to Cusco for the changes and what not.  Always stressful but also awesome to be able to see the changes there in Cusco.

Tue: CHANGE DAY!!!  So I spent most of it with Elder Crist visiting people in our sectors and finding some epic ginger-ale which is an entirely different story.  Then the change meeting where my new comp is.....Elder Coti!!!  We worked together a bit in Cusco but now we are comps here and I couldn't be happier.  He is from Guatamala and like I said is awesome!

Wed:  Meetings in Cusco and then heading out to Puno.  It's always great to be able to go and visit people there but two days is a little much, it was sector time!

Thu:  Worked in the sector and found some awesome people...oh and did I mention that now we are over Huajsapata and Azoguine?  Now it's a larger sector but it's also a lot more fun, rumor is they are going to be stuck together this weekend, I guess we'll see.

I'm going to stop it there because I'm running out of time and I think this will be a lot faster.  We found some great people and after talking to the branch president of Azoguine we have a few plans, as well as a few references for the weeks to come!  We are really pumped to be able to be working her and helping out were we are really needed.  Well I gotta go, till the next!

---Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata/Azoguine, Puno, Peru


September 3, 2012

Well guys, it's been a great few months here but...wait...what...?  I'm staying!  WOOOHHOOOO!  So that about wraps up how that went, I'm going for six months now in Huajsapata and I might just end here but we'll see how that ends up.  It's been a crazy cool week with Elder Condemarin's parents showing up to get him on Saturday.  It reminded me, all of it, as it has every time that I've 'killed' someone of why we are here, and what we are here to do.

We are here to help people that they might be able to feel the Spirit and know that the Lord love them, that they can make sacred covenants with him and receive the blessings that come with those.  That is why we are here, everything else is secondary.  Being able to do that is hard, it is work and sometimes it hurts, sometimes it is one of the hardest things a person will ever do knowing that one needs to get up and do it again day after day but the pure joy that we receive from doing it is unequaled.  It is like football (the kind with pads) every practice, many times the entire game one will find himself hurting beyond belief but it is that touchdown and the win that makes it all worth it.  That is how it is for us here, we work and we fight and we do all we can, just to have that one moment that we can say, 1) we have done all and 2) they have received what the Lord has for them.  Now with six more weeks here in Huajsapata (and now that my sector is going to be double it's size since Azoguine is going to close) I plan on doing just that.  Helping as many people as possible.  Maybe it won't be enough, maybe I'll only help a few but I will be able to say, as many have: have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.

So, I think we'll now take some questions...

Any word on when you will be home?
---Nov. 27 is change day so...the 28th or 29th...somewhere around there... 

Do you have the same fast food restaurants in Cusco that we have here?
---No, just Bimbos and McDonalds...Bimbos being an okay McDonald's knockoff

Is it Cuzco or Cusco?  We see it spelled both ways...
---The correct way would be Cusco, it comes from the Quechua name, Qosqomanta.

Do you have Dr. Pepper down there and if so have you taught anyone about DP and peanuts? Do you miss it now?
---In Puno no but in Abancay we did and I never could do the peanut thing, they cost a TON here.  And yes, I really do miss my DP.

Can you really get a Canon 5D Mark II down there for a good price? Can you get the New 5D Mark III? if so what's is going for?
---I haven't checked for a long time but I suppose I could in the coming days...

Well that wraps it up till next week!

See yah!

--Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata, Puno, Peru


Fun and Baptisms

August 27, 2012
Hello everyone!

This has been a fairly crazy week so I guess we'll run it down then go from there.

Mon: A P-Day filled with some great soccer and general awesomeness.

Tue: Not sure if I already talked about Brian, he was a reference from his aunt who is a member in our ward and has been progressing splendidly and on Tuesday we challenged him to baptism for Sept. 1. He's a great kid and it's been a lot of fun teaching him and ending the change with his baptism will be great.

Wed: Accompanied Manco Capac to an appointment and helped them set up their baptism.

Thu:  Working in the sector and doing the general stuff.

Fri: Baptismal interviews and the like. A great day that was only smudged by the fact that rainy season has now started in Puno.

Sat:  Helped get a few baptisms ready and good to go.

Sun: We found ourselves doing what we normally do on Saturdays today, helping with baptisms! It's always fun being able to help the companionships pull it off great with everything ready to go when it needs to be. Though sometimes it's a bit of a hassle it always gives a great tone to the day.

In the end we ended this month okay, but it could have been better, which we are seriously hoping for in September.

Well that does it for now, till next week!

 --Elder Will Sowards


Photos and Fun

August 20, 2012

Hello everyone!


So this week I'm prepping photos to send so it won't be that long of a post but that doesn't mean it wasn't an awesome time.


Monday was fun times playing soccer, which I'm not exactly better at. I find it easier to 'check' people than to actually try to steal the ball. It works fairly well, until someone figures out that it would be a full blown yellow card if I ever did it in a real game.


Tuesday we found ourselves searching for a new room for the sisters because they had some problems in their old one.  Searching for rooms is not exactly fun, or maybe that is just when it isn't yours... Anyways we found one and got them all taken care of allowing for the week to continue!


Wednesday, district meeting and one of the coolest lessons in my mission.  Karin is an investigator that we contacted a few months ago but it has been hard to find her again but Wednesday we found her and it was awesome!  Before she told us about her husband and said that she didn't think that he would want to listen to us and it was 100% correct because, well, at that time he didn't. But when we asked her again, now a lot more receptive for some reason, she said she would go upstairs and talk to him.  A few minutes later all four of us are in their living room talking.  It was an awesome lesson and when we challenged them to baptism they accepted without reservation. Their is just a small problem...they aren't married but in talking with them they told us that they are 100% ready and willing to do it.  It is amazing how people can change over time and be able to feel the spirit.


The rest of the week turned out well and I'm starting to run out of time so I'll leave it at that.  This work is amazing and to have the opportunity to do it is a great blessing, something that really must be cherished.


Well, that about covers it for now, running low on time....Till the next one


--Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata, Puno, Peru


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Crazy Week!!

August 6, 2012

Hello everyone!

Hope it's all going where ever you might be because this week has been INSANE! I'm not entirely sure where to start...

Mon: A crazy race searching for two baptismal forms to send to the office. But it all ended well and some soccer was able to fix all the frustration.

Tue: Visit some people and received the news that Elder Condemarin was going to go to Cusco for two weeks so Elder Galvez can help with a mission-work themed music recital. It's a cool idea to excite members about missionary work and kick off a mini-MTC program, both I'll explain next week.

Wed: Zone Leader Meeting in Cusco, nothing special to report.

Thu: I made a little bit of a mistake Thursday and it went a bit like this.

E' Galvez: So what did you study before the mish?
Me: Journalism.
G: Cool, so what do you want to do with that?
Me: Production.
G: Have any experience with that?
Me: A bit. (Begins to tell a funny production story)
Me: (internal monologue) oh crap....

So that's how I became showrunner on the musical recital...all three of them. In Juliaca, Puno Central and Bellavista. I'm in charge of everything and my only question is, WHY IS THERE NO PERUVIAN BROADCAST RENTALS? They explained to me what they wanted and I though immediately, oh yeah! Just a two camera shoot with a switch so we can run it through the church system and g2g as Taco Bell once taught me. It turns out switches don't exist in Puno, or at least not in the three 'production' places I've gone. OH JOY!

But that I know all of this and can help is a great blessing for this activity. I'd put a tech management joke in here but I'd rather not get The rIghTeous in trouble. So here I find myself in the same position I found dad many a time and I can honestly say now at this very moment, I UNDERSTAND! and thank you so very much for all those times I had to hang around. Though my nose was in a book 99% of the time I was listening. Really, anyone under the age of...better yet if you have parents or mentors that want to teach you something at ANY age listen to them. You'll be grateful for it later.

Fri-Sun: You know what is awesome? The flu! But it wasn't that strong (thanks go to Glaxo-Smith-Klien and Merk) so we just kept on trucking.

I guess that about covers it and I'm out of time, till the next one!

---Elder Will Sowards

Once More with Feeling

July 30, 2012

Hello everyone!

It has been a fun and interesting week to say the least so I guess we'll just start from the top!

So, my new companion is Elder Condemarin...well I supposethe word would be new being as that he trained me. It's awesome to be with him again and we are doing great together. Being with the same comp again is really a blessing because it's not like you have to find the synch because you already have it. It's like a teaching bonus that just falls into your lap. You can start right on teaching and you are good to go. Also he is finishing this changes which means two deaths in a row for me.

This week we had an awesome experience with Arturo, a reference that we recieved from Elder Beachum who was here about a year ago at the zl meeting, and he is AWESOME!  We found him on Wednesday and from then on it has just been great teaching him and his family. We even helped them paint their house...which makes me think there is something with me, Puno and paint...anyways, it's just been a fantastic week!

Hey!  Look! Questions!

Do you get to drive a car at all down there? Does the mission have a car?
---No and no, the only person with a car is president, and no I haven't had the chance to drive it...sadly no...

When you go to Cusco do you take the bus?
---Yep, going and coming back. It's fun but not something I'm going to miss.

How are the Olympics down there? Are there a lot of people interested in them?
---There are a few Peruvian athletes there but nobody really cares. I'm just happy I'm not missing the winters. Sochi 2014 HERE WE COME! If I could somehow find a job that would get me there for free......

Well, that wraps it up for this week, till the next,

--Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

Quick thoughts

July 23, 2012

Hi everyone!

This message comes a bit late due to a power outage here in Puno that started last night around 10ish and just ended (it's about 5 now). Hope everything is going well for all of you and with and that you don't have a nearly 20 hour power outage in Phoenix or whatever hot place you might be in.

This week was interesting with some high and lows. To start out the week the zone wasn't exactly in the best place number wise and Elder Aldave and I found ourselves doing all we could to help in any way that we could. It felt good to help them out, and it helped a lot. The zone is now about where it should be and we are mega-psyched for the next change.  In the sector we are still working with Wilson and a few other people who I am sure will be baptised in August but to end July without one, well it makes you think. I remember and I don't know if I ever mentioned it here but I've realized that sometimes the success or lack thereof that we might have at a time is just temporary, we will be blessed in the long run. I really learned this in Cusco where Elder Uriarte and I didn't have a lot of success in the sector but the zone had more baptisms than any other time in it's history as a part of Mission Peru Cusco.  We are here sometimes to reap and sometimes to sow but there is always something to do and always some kind of way that we can help in the work.

Changes where this week too and with Elder Aldave finishing his mission I find myself one more change here in Bellavista. It's great to be here and I know it's where the Lord wants me to be, even if it is as cold as Michigan sometimes but without the joys of hockey...which is a bad analogy because there is no way the Red Wings can bring joy to anyone.

Hey, look at that! Questions!

What is your favorite thing to eat in the street? 
---Churros!  Oh the joy of Peruvian Churros!!!!

Does the lake have fish in it and do people eat them? Have you ate them?
---The people in Uros eat them but nobody else, they say they are contaminated. Yes, I have eaten them and I tend to agree with the contamination assessment.

Well that about wraps it up for this shorter addition, till next week

--Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

ly 23, 2012

Interviews and Sickness

Ju;y 16, 2012

Hello everyone!

This week was a crazy one; sick people in the zone, interviews and baptisms so let's do the rundown!

Mon: Soccer and cleaning the room to prep for the inevitable room check, which surprisingly never came. But, nobody ever complained about having an overly clean room.

Tue: This was the day that almost everyone was sick and it was not fun. We ended up spending most of the day buying pills and helping with divisions in other sectors so they could visit their sure appointments. It was good to be able to help everyone out and though we felt like nurses it worked out well.

Wed: More helping of the sick and prepping for the interviews. In Cusco this was easy because the office did everything but here in Puno it's all on us to prep the church and everything like that. It takes me back to producing and show-running, just as fun as it is stressful.

Thu: Interviews!

Fri: Multi-Zone Conference with Juliaca and Puno Central. President Calderon has changed a lot since the beginning of my mission and the trainings we have are now epicly good. After the conference we did divisions with the assistants which were extremely productive.

Sat: The zone had a lot of baptisms and we found ourselves running all over the place bringing clothes or doing interviews. Also, the stake did a cool family history conference that we helped out with collecting references.

Sun: Church and finally a normal workday, great way to end a week.

And that was pretty much how it went, fun yet stressful. But you know what's awesome? Questions!!!

Do you know a Elder Anderson? is he from AZ?
---Yes, but we were never together which makes me kind of confused on that part....And he's from Surprise.

Are you getting better in playing soccer?
---Not really, but I can do D really well!

Do you have any older missionaries or couples in your mission?
---Still no, but there is a sister that is 33.

Think that wraps it up, till next week,

--Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

A Great Week

July 9, 2012

What's up everyone?!

This week has been great and I mean truly wonderful, now were to start...?

Tuesday we were in Cusco for the zone leader council and honestly it was probably one of the best experiences that I've had in my mission. President at one point began to talk about the difference between aptitude and attitude and in  those moments I came to a hard realization. In Huajsapata I hadn't exactly had the best attitude, though I was working I wasn't doing it for the right reasons nor the right way. I was working just to work not because I wanted to nor because it would help people. I was thinking of Huajsapata as a quasi-lost cause because of how small the ward is and how many inactives there are not as the potential that it is. Needless to say a change was in order. Elder Aldave and I talked after and when we got back on Wednesday things began to change.

On Thursday we found Wilson. He's a man about 30 years old with a wife and kid and is awesome! I remember the night before we had prayed for some help in finding new people and that day we found him, and in a bit of a way he found us too. As we were talking to him he told us that eight-years-ago he and his family listened to the missionaries for a bit but due to something (he didn't know what) they had never come back. He had learned about the commandments and since then has been following them the best he could. To me the part that well...he told us that the same night where we were praying to find new investigators he was praying to have the same feelings he had when the missionaries taught his family. The Lord blesses us, we just need to ask.

Since deciding to change our attitude toward the sector we have had a few more experiences like this. It's truly amazing how much of a change just a difference in that one simple thing can make.

Well, that about wraps it up. Till next week,

---Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru


July 2. 2012

Hi everyone!

So it's been a great week so I guess we'll start with the Rundown!

Mon: P-Day spent playing soccer then a Mega-FHE in the church where members brought two of our investigators!

Tue:  Found another inactive family that we are working with whose kids aren't members.  I'm not sure how I feel about baptising just kids but I guess completing families is cool.

Wed: More work and some zone stuff we had to take care of. That's a kind of not as fun part of being in Puno we have to deal with as Zone Leaders here. We have to go to the terminal almost daily and a lot of the things that the office just takes care of in Cusco we have to do. It sometimes hardly takes any time out of our days and other times, like Wednesday and Thursday this week almost all of our time.

Thu: Helped the sisters move which ran into a few...let's say hiccups like losing keys and crazy old ladies trying to beat Elder Henniger for reasons I'm still not sure on. But we also ran into a few more inactives in the sector that we are working with.  If this keeps up Hujsapata is going to turn into the ward it should be!

Fri: Worked like normal in the sector, just a good day.

Sat: A member went with us to visit some inactives and give us references, I honestly think this was one of my best days for a WHILE. It's just great working with members and since arriving in Puno it's something we haven't done a lot. I can't hardly describe how awesome it is!

Sun: A lot in the church and some good work after, a great way to close a good week.

Now to the questions!

Do you want a steak that is cooked right or do you really want one WELL DONE!!! ?  (over cooked)
---Well done is not overcooked, it's just cooked.  Rare is otherwise known as raw and medium-rare as half-raw. :)

How cold is it getting?
---I live at 12600ft, it's winter.  It gets cold. Like in the negatives at night cold.  But during the day it's hot.  It's weird. TIP (our catch all term for Puno, This Is Puno or Peru depending on the situation)

Do you eat at their home or somewhere else?
---Here we don't eat in member homes hardly ever, not exactly sure why....

Do you ever get to read the newspaper?
---Not really, every once in a while but it's not a common thing. And it's not that great, it's like reading one of those ALIEN ATTACK IN TEXAS! papers that they sell in the checkout line at the grocery store.

Well think that about wraps that up, till next week

--Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

Another Week in Puno

June 25, 2012


Where to start with this week? I'd probably have to start with the month as a whole for the zone. We ended with only nine which isn't bad but not exactly good either but looking at how the month ended we are hoping for at least double that for July. It's a different change and a different crew here in Bellavista and we are really excited for what we'll be able to do in what's left of the change.

In the sector it was a pretty hard week, a lot of appointments that fell through and a few other difficulties but it all paid off in the end. We live with Elder Scholes and Phillips (a Peruvian though his name sounds gringo) and we do divisions all the time so we too had taught an investigator named Karina. She was what we call an eternal investigator, she went to church every week (probably more active than the vast majority of he members here in general) and just never wanted to go any further. Tuesday there was an appointment with her and she told the elders that she wanted to be baptized! It was just awesome! Elder Scholes baptized her and I confirmed her. It was so uplifting to see that the Spirit can help people when perhaps we least expect it.

Then, on Sunday, the church was almost full. I honestly have no idea how it happened, even more so with it being a holiday weekend (no idea what holiday either, I think it's one of those things like In Canada that there has to be a holiday every month). I know that for just going on during a kind of tough week the Lord has helped us a TON!

But hey, look over there! Questions!!!

What food are you craving that we eat here?
---Steak, a well-done steak.
Do you have FHE with members?
---Right now we are starting Mega-FHE to help the members learn how to do it and be excited about it, it worked really well in Abancay.
How do you knock on doors? I know where Dad served that would stand outside and clap. Bro Lake said that everyone had a gate so they would rattle it. How is it done in your mission?
---Knocking with a pen or coin, almost never with a hand.  Not entirely sure why....
Do you ever show Church DVD for contacts and if so how?
---No but we have talked about doing it, giving away DVD becaus they are so cheap but don't know whatever happened to that idea.
How often to you get to talk in church?
---About once a month, sometimes more sometimes less.
Do you ever get to bless or pass the sacrament?
---Every single week we are blessing, passing...? I don't think I've done it sense Lampa.

Think that wraps it up for this round, till next week!

---Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

A Great Week

June 11, 2012

Hello everyone!

Hope everything is going well for everyone out in non-MPC land because it is going pretty awesome for us here! Where to begin?

Elder Aldave is my new comp and we are working great together, we worked together before in Juliaca, Cusco, and in Bellavista last change. Elder Aldave like myself went up to ZL within the zone. He is from Lima and is going to end this change so it looks like I'm going to be here till at least September, which I am actually kind of happy about.

This week was pretty awesome and by pretty awesome I actually want EPIC! We received a golden reference from a member family and went to visit them. The parents are already members but their children, ranging from 17 to 3 years old and there are around 10 kids in that age group. Watching them walk into the church was just fantastic. They filled it up and the other members were shocked! We set the baptismal dates for June 30.

It's great to be finding people like the Escalante family and others that are very similar in that they have been prepared to receive the Gospel. And just this week we have had a few other people/families that have been that way. It is a great blessing.

Hey look! Questions! (Is it just me or are my segues getting progressively lamer?)

Does Peru celebrate Father Day? and if so how was it?
---Not really, at least from what I saw.
Did you ever get the Hockey Gloves you said you saw?
---Nope, the guy still wants 70soles and I think to keep on asking would just up the price.  $26 for a pair of fairly used gloves seems pretty expensive.
Is Peruvian toilet paper like European TP?
---If Euopean TP is basically the same as US TP then yes, if not....
Are the bathrooms like ours?
---Pretty much but the shower is electic which means it can kill you.

Think that about wraps it up here. Questions, comments, concerns? You know were to send them.

---Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

Monday, June 11, 2012


Monday, June 11, 2012 5:30 PM

Hello everyone!

Hope it's all going well for everyone out there. This week, well, yesterday we got the changes and I don't have one but Elder Agazzani does so I guess we'll see who my new comp is, the rumor mill has yet to say anything on that one.

So this week we found some really cool people including Stefani. She was a reference from her sister who told us "I'm not really interested but I know my sister is." It was pretty awesome and when we came by to visit the next day Stefani was extremely cool and very very receptive even telling us that she wants to be baptized! So I guess we'll see how all that turns out in the next few weeks.

Guess we are on to the questions!

Do you have any sister missionary in your zone?

---Yes, one companionship.

How has the weather been?

---Warm in the days cold at nights, really cold...Once again I'm really glad I brought the sleeping bag.

It winter will Puno get ICE in the lake?

---No, alas there will not be.  The hockey awesomeness would be...well AWESOME!  However I did find hockey gloves in the cachina last Monday.  The guy wanted 70soles, my answer was, 'What are you going to do with mitts in Puno?' He didn't give me a good answer.

Will we ever get a letter(hand written) from you again?

---Yes, but not for a while because SerPost is still closed here from the riots last year.  So the next time I go to Cusco.

When you do your letter to Pres, Do you email or snail mail them to the office?

---We essentially snail mail it through the bus system here...Yeah, I know that sounds really weird but that's just how it works here.

Do you have any older missionary couples in your mission?

---No but I've heard rumors that we'll have some in a few months.

Was it cold in the lake when you did the baptism in it?

---Elder Agazzani says that it wasn't but I don't know if I believe him...might just be a macho thing....

Are there critters in the water?

---Fish and that's about it...or are you talking about tap water?  Because that stuff will kill you in Puno.

Well, guess that wraps that up. Till next week!

--Elder Will Sowards

Work and Travel

Monday, June 04, 2012 9:47 AM

Hi everyone!

Well this week was cool yet a bit annoying because we weren't able to work in the sector much this week, so to start this off let's do the weekly rundown! Which is badly named because I don't do it every week...

Mon: A really chill P-Day were we checked out some cool stores and just...well chilled. We were kind of tired of playing soccer so more than anything it was a rest from that.

Tue: We worked our butts off and had a LOT of success a family and a few really cool individuals and that is what really made not being able to work much the rest of the week so annoying.
Wed: Worked with the sister missionaries and then went off to Cusco for the Zone Leader Meeting
Thu: In Cusco for the Zone Leader Meeting!  Got to talk to some converts after the meeting and do some other stuff.  It was really great to be able to go back to an old sector and see people.
Fri: Back in Puno and in the Uros again for another baptismal interview.  Don't get me wrong I really love going there, it is really awesome but, well something isn't quite right when I worked more there this week than in my own sector.
Sat: In the Uros once again for the other baptismal interview.  Like I said, more than in my own sector.
Sun: Finally able to work in the sector and church!

Don't get me me wrong I love working here and I wouldn't shirk my zone leader duties at all but hardly not working in the sector this week was really annoying.  But the zone is better for it so I guess it all works out.

On a funny side note, because I'm running out of time, I realized today I can hardly do my Yotes's a long story...

But I think that about wraps it up for now, till next week!

--Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata, Puno, Peru


 May 28, 2012

Hello everyone!

As you can see this week's email does in-fact come with pictures! There is Heidi's baptism, our P-Day trip to the Condor (where I went last year while in Puno...just don't know if I sent the pics...) and the last few which are from our baptism in Lake Titikaka!

Well the zone this month didn't really do so hot, 9 baptisms but we are really hoping and know there will be more in June.  Don't know, think I felt a bit like Tippet today in the zone meeting after losing 5.  Not as much depressed as knowing we could do better but still somewhat pleased with what we have done.

But, though the zone is well less than exceptional at the moment Huajsapata is doing GREAT! As you can see we had a baptism this week IN THE LAKE! I'm still psyched about that part. And next week we'll have another one. We are working more than anything with references and it's been going great. Cintia was one of those and progressed very quickly with the help of her mostly member family. It's grat to see that even in a place that everyone said was 'the second-worst ZL sector in the mish' we can prove them wrong and bring out the best in the sector.

Despite the ups and downs I think I can say that this month has been one of my favorites if not the best I have had in the mission field. But, to wrap it up let's take a few Q's!

Do you do your letter to Pres at the same time that you write us?

---Nope, we do that the night before.

Is Puno the city of the cool "outdoor market" that you got your camera at?

---No, that was Juliaca but I could probably find another one here, hint hint.

Do you know dream in Spanish or English or both?

---Both, which is sometimes really weird.

How do you get to the floating islands?

---The members take us over by boat.

What are the houses made of?

---Reeds, it's ALL reeds.

Are there many members?

---About 100 and growing!

Think that's about it, till the next time,

---Elder Will Sowards

Huajsapata, Puno, Peru

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BAptism and the Uros

Hey everyone!

So this week we had a baptism, Heidi.  She was a door contact during divisions with Elder Cevallos who works in the Uros.  I think I may have talked about her before but I don't exactly remember...Anyways, We started teaching her and her brother and though Luis was kind of interested he pretty much told us that he wasn't THAT interested but we kept talking to them both and put a baptismal date for the 19th. During the week their mom showed up from the country, she lives in a small pueblo about seven hours away and only comes to visit about once a month so we talked to her as well, and she was HUGELY receptive to us  , even though she isn't married she told us that she would start making plans.

It's just great to see the gospel blessing a family like this and how the members, more than anyone else the young adults have been helping them. As I said previously the ward here is not that strong but we are doing all we can to try to bring it together and strengthen it as much as we can.

Also this week we did divisions with the Uros again and I went over there for the day and WOW it is AWESOME!! I can't even describe how great it is to work out there with some of the coolest yet humblest people I've ever met. A real missionary dream.

Hmmm, what's that over there?  Questions?!!!

Do people have TVs there?  Movies???
---Everyone has TV's here but almost there are no movie theaters here at all, probably why piracy is such a HUGE thing here.

Do all homes have phones?
---They used to but now everyone uses there cellphones, a lot more convienient and cheaper.

What is the best local food you have eaten?
---Queso frito, translated to fried cheese, extremely unhealthy but extremely good!

That should just about wrap it up for this week.  Till the next,

---Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Puno, Peru


Let's hope the Yotes make it!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012


This is just going to be a quick update because I talked to the parentals yesterday, which was GREAT!  Anyways, everything is going great here in Puno and even though the Yotes lost game 1 I'm sure they can pull it out.

So let's see...what else is there to say...It really sucked that I wasn't able to talk to Grandma and John nor Bacon and the Crue but we'll have our chance soon, 199 days!!!  Yes, I got bored while my comp was talking to his family and did the count.

To Bacon and Crew:  I've been thinking and I really can't decide between goalie and defenseman I guess we'll just get out on the ice and find out what suits me and the team better.  And yes Dad I said defenseman, just to prove all the people that say d's are dumb wrong!  And could you tell me about how much we'd be looking at for gear and team costs?

Hmmm...what else to say....

I'm waiting for my comp to pass me his camera so I can upload the pictures from when we did service in the Uros this week.  We cut an island in half!  As the elders who serve there told us, when they first started visiting the island they didn't want anything to do with them and mocked them and what not but after gaining some confidence there they offered to help them divide and enlarge the island.  When we got there they were a little bit hesitant but when we started working they warmed right up and by the end were laughing righ along with us.  It was awesome and a great testament as to how great service can help the work.

Well, still waiting on the camera...think it will be next week.

till then


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Puni, Puno, Puno

May 7,  2012

Hello everyone,

Well, what can I say but the rumors were wrong, I don't find myself writing you this from beautiful Urubamba but rather from the sunny banks of Lake Titikaka!  Yes, that's right folks same city, different zone from the last time around.  This time I'm in Bellavista with Elder Agazzani as zone leaders.

Elder Agazzani is AWESOME!!! He's from Argentina, Cordoba to be exact (Tanner shout-out!) and we really get along well. The ward is...well small, 2 blocks by 5 blocks to be exact and attendance is down, like 20 in the church yesterday type of down, and yes I did say ward on the first part...But I'm mega-psyched to be here! When I left Victoria in my emergency change I felt that though my work was done in that ward it wasn't in Puno and to be back here, though it is the other zone is a HUGE blessing for me.

Anyways, I feel like doing a Weekly Rundown so here we go:

Mon: Prepped my bags for my change and said good-bye to a few people, generally a chill day.
Tues: P-Day and Change Day, found out I was going to Bellavista and were this an average week I would have been headed out here on a bus, but alas it was not!
Wed: Zone Leader Counsel with President and the assistants, I'd get into it but I don't think you all really want to hear about mission number stuff, if I'm wrong tell me and the next time we have one I'll tell more about how it is.
Thurs: We showed up in Puno around 5am, slept for a few hours, unpacked and got to work. The sector is kinda tough but we are really excited to be working here and found people to teach quite quickly, I'll get a bit more into that next week.
Fri: Interviews with president and zone conference together with Puno Central. It was a training filled week! But we came away with some great ideas to help Huajsapata, weirdest ward name ever...just for how it sounds...
Sat: Baptismal interviews and working.
Sun: Church, fast and testimony meeting, working, numbers the usual and more than anything looking forward to a normal week to be able to work in the sector the whole time.

Hey!  Look!  What's that? QUESTION TIME!!!

Honestly, sometimes I find myself questioning my own sanity...

What is your favorite Scripture right now?
--Right now I'd say 1 Nefi 17 in general.

What did you do with the Jiffey Pop?
--We popped it my last night in Cusco!

Guess that wraps it up till next week!  Till then...

---Elder Will Sowards
Huajsapata, Bellavista, Puno



(End of blog post)

GO YOTES!!!  Just to be certain you all understand me.


April 30. 2012

Hello everyone!

Firstly, I have a change and rumor is that I'm going to...well there really isn't one this time but I'm sure it will be awesome no matter what.

Yotes made it to round two!!! Wow, shaving everyday instead of growing a Playoff Beard works! At least in the mish. It's about time we made it!

On similar lines we were really hoping to be zone of excellence this month but, alas much like the Yotes from 1980-something till this year we weren't able to get it done. However just this week there were 14 baptisms in the zone and for that we are pretty happy, we met the mission record.

To help get that done we spent most of the week working with companionships in the zone and only a little bit in our own sector, but through doing so Elder Uriarte and I came to a realization, we shouldn't leave our sector completely to help the rest of the zone but that our job as ZL's here is, more than anything else, to be fixers.  To help the missionaries with the problems they have in the facets that they most need our help be it that person with a difficulty or something with obedience or whatever for those two may be the issue our #1 priority 90% of the time is to help those elders. Change a few words there and I think you might find it applicable to the vast majority of leadership roles. It's about helping those we lead, not just running toward the goal alone.

Do you think it will be your last change?
---No, I probably have this one and one more, maybe two.

Do you ever hear about the people you baptized through the other elders?
---Sometimes but not very often.  Not that it doesn't happen just that news isn't always passed rapidly.

Since you are not supposed to drink the water, what do you drink?
---Bottled water, boiled water, or soda.  There isn't really a lot in the way of options for that.

Are you going to go to Macchu Picchu agian?
---Nope, maybe at the very end of the mish but for right now no.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Questions, comments, concerns?  Just send them my way! Till next week!

---Elder Will Sowards

(End of blog post)

No Subject

April 23, 2912

Well, this week has been AWESOME!  All the crud of last week paid off in this one.  It's looking like we probably won't have a baptism in April but the zone is going to have a TON and as the zone leaders here that makes us just as happy.  We figure it's like this, maybe WE aren't having a lot of success but because we are still doing the best we can the rest of the zone is being blessed.

This week though we did a bit of spring cleaning with investigators leaving some that wern't progressing and that was tough.  Real tough.  But it's a necessary process that allows us to try to find new people, which we were able to do.  Monica is 47 and lived in NYC for a good 20 years but recently came back to Peru.  We found her contacting and she is really cool.  She knows WAY more than we do about the bible and what not but wants to hear what we have to say.  It's just really cool to be able to teach people that are willing to accept something outside of their norm.

To the questions!!!

What do you think you have learned about yourself that you did not know about you?
---That I can be a good leader.

Do they have a piano in the Church??
---Yes they do, but nobody knows how to play it.

What songs do they members like the best?
---Pretty much the same ones as in English.

Where do you go to email us?
---To an internet about 3 blocks away from where we have zone meetings.

What does your room look like?
---I'll send a pic next week!

That about wraps it up!  Till next week!

--Elder Will Sowards
Tullumayo, Cusco, Peru


To All: Cheer on the Yotes!  And thank you for the Easter package, the JiffyPop is awesome!  I love you all and stay safe!

Bacon/Joe/John/Troy- Thanks for the update and sorry about the Nucks

Till the next one!


Another Week in Cusco

 April 16, 2012

Hello everyone!

It's been a hard week, not just for the work but how much we have done.  Elder Uriarte and I...I don't think I have ever worked this hard in my life.  10 to 9:30 with maybe 40min for lunch and the entire time contacting or teaching and all of it with members.  It's been an awsome week, like I said, but a hard one.  Like a good 5 mile run, it's hard but afterwards you feel great.  We are hoping that it all pays off for a baptism in April and everything is looking like it will.

Now I ask for your help from everyone.  After 17 months a lot of what is cool to me is cool but a normal kind of cool, if you get what I mean.  So if you could send me some questions to guide me that would be awesome.

Anyways, now to questions!

What are the Names of all the Zones in your mission?
---Inti Raymi, Cusco, Valle Sagrado, Abancay, Juliaca, Andahuaylas, Puno Central, Bellavista, Sicuani, Puerto Maldonado, Quillabamba and that's all of them!

Have you cooked you jiffey pop yet?
---...There was a Jiffey Pop....?

Do the Peruvian people work on food storage?  what foods do they eat that are storeable?
---That I know And to answer the second question, ALL OF THEM

Are the converts active after their baptisms or is it like the other countries where they join and then are not active?
---It really depends on the ward.  If the ward helps in retention then they stay, if they don't then they don't.  I think I'll share a story on that next week.

How often do you see the mission president?
---Here in Cusco, quite often.  In the other provinces, about once a month.

Did you get the Easter package?
---Not yet, but I'm sure it will show up soon.

Well, that about wraps things up on this end, till next week...

--Elder Will Sowards
Tullumayo, Cusco, Peru


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Rundown

Monday, April 10, 2012

Hello everyone!

So, it's been an interesting week.  Let me do a quick rundown for you.

Monday- PDAY!  Played some soccer and ATE A TON with Elder Crist at Senor Carbon for his birthday.  It was epic!

Tuesday- Regular work day, nothing too special.

Wednesday- It was an EPIC day!  Just completely awesome!  We taught Javier, who is the only person in his family that isn't a member and after answering a few of his question we challenged him to baptism and he accepted!  Then a bit later on we found Maria who I'll get to in a second.

Thursday- We had our Concillio de LZ with President and it was really good to have.  We found a lot to use to help the zone and so far, four days, it has worked pretty well.

Friday-  Because of my inability to admit that I had in fact gotten us lost in the sector I decided I'd contact someone and call it 'Where we are going.' and for probably the first time in history pride paid off.  Here we met Maria who is probably the coolest person that I have ever taught.  For the first time I think I can honestly say that we have found someone prepared to recieve the gospel.  It's just something special.  It makes everything worth it.  Every door that has been closed, every...everything.  She and here daughter will be baptised the 28th of April.

Saturday- Baptisms and work.  A great day for both.

Sunday- Church, work, the usual with ward council as well.  But the cool thing was finding David, which I'm going to leave as a cliffhanger for next week.

Well, I'm going to hold off on the questions till next week, just got Dad's email so I need to get that all prepped.

But just to answer a question that I recieved.  Is it all worth it.  The unequivical answer is YES.  It is worth it.  There are no greater highs than helping people here.  I'm sure I'll talk more about that next week.

Anyways, good to hear the Yotes are NUMBER 3 in the NHL West!!!  Go Yotes and in their honor guess who is going to be wearing a Yotes hat today!  THIS GUY!  Let's just hope they win and don't go to Froglandia.

Till next week!

--Elder Will Sowards
Tullumayo, Cusco, Peru

It;s a Shorton One...A Really Short One

Monday, April 2, 2012

Well, I'm running a bit low on time thanks to a few numbers issues but I'm going to do the best that I can.  Saturday between the sessions we had Nuria's baptism, I'll send photos next week.  But in short the conference was awesome, we were able to watch all of it in English with a LOT of gringos...almost all of them tourists.  I'm going to get a package ready for next week and also I'm going to send an audio file because it's Elder Crist's birthday and we are going to go eat somewhere to celebrate.  I think Fuego...

I'm really sorry this is so short but I need to go.

I'll write an epic letter next week...or I'll at least try....

--Elder Will Sowards
Tullumayo, Cusco, Peru

Neuria and a New Comp

Monday, March 28

Hello everyone!

It's been a fun week here in Cusco, my new companion Elder Uriarte, is awesome and I worked with him in Abancay where both of us were district leaders and to have him as my companion now is just AWESOME!  He's from Chiclayo which is close to Trujillo (I only mention it because the city will come up later in this email) and so far we are working great together.  Next week we are going to have one baptism and we hope to have at least three in April.  It's really great to be able to work with him again like I was able to in Abancay.

The baptism that we are going to have this week is Neuria (yes, I know, weirdish name right?) is just awesome!  She was a reference from Amos who I believe I've mentioned here and as we began to talk to her she told us her story.  About two years ago she started listening to the missionaries in Quillabamba where her sister and brother-in-law live (she told us they both are members) but had a lot of doubts and asked even more questions.  Then, a year later she talked with the missionaries in Calca and again didn't really feel anything special.  Then, Amos introduced us and something just kind of clicked and now she wants to be baptised.  It is really quite amazing that the Lord can work with us in these ways.  She didn't tell us the whole thing but I'm pretty sure that in those times she just wasn' could I put it...ready.  Or maybe it was that she just wasn't dating our new ward mission leader...I prefer to think it's the first one or both...I'd rather not be a romantic in this instance...or ever...those who were with me in English would understand...

Well!  Look what we have!  Questions!!!

Do they have the open markets in Cusco, like to Turks post on their blog in Trujillo?

---Yes they do but they stink to high heaven.

We are having liver for dinner---have you eaten any different meats-other than the cuy?

---Boiled cow intestine, nuf said.

What is the weather like there now?

---REALLY HOT!!!  We've been spending day in night in short sleeves.

Are there lots of mosquitos, etc.?

---In Cusco, No.  In Puerto, well, it's jungle...

Have you seen any wild animals---birds, etc---different than we have here?

---Not really but there were flamingo-ish things in Juliaca.

Think that about wraps it up this week.  Questions, comments, concerns...send them to management...whom in this case is not some blad guy looking to have you do his dirty work...really bad Burn Notice reference...It's been a LONG 16 months at times...especially when you start forgetting English...anyways....

--Elder Will Sowards

Tullumayo, Cusco, Peru