Saturday, April 20, 2013

It's a Small (LDS) World After All

Upon arriving to my new life in Piura, Peru, some 3,000 miles away from home, I never expected to find such a small world within the LDS community. I didn't expect to find as many connections as I have in this hot northern Peruvian desert landscape.

During the first few weeks of my attendance at my local ward - Los Angamos, I met the one American missionary from Blackfoot, Idaho, Elder Stephenson. He was transferred shortly after that, and then one Sunday, a missionary from Sandy was visiting. He worked at the ski shop around the corner from where I lived in Cottonwood Heights. Later, the next American missionary was Elder Smith from Layton. I also met missionaries from West Jordan as well.

As far as Peruvians,  I met Jorge and Kelly Diaz, siblings who studied at BYU. Jorge also was a language instructor at the MTC. I thought that was pretty cool- though Jorge told me he associated Utah girls with cookies. I'm sure he got a lot of cookies from all the girls too!

Next, I met the newly-called the Peru-Piura Mission President and his wife. President and Sister Rowley are from  from Santaquin, Utah.

In December, I met their daughter, who was visiting from Utah. It turns out she was getting married to the son of one of the recruiters at Westminster, Jenn who worked for the degree programs I worked on!

On New Year's Eve, I was at a party at my friend's house in Utah. I met two girls that had served their mission together.  We did the initial get-to-know you questions. I told them I was working in Peru. They said they knew 1 Peruvian missionary from their mission... 1 out of millions, right? I asked what his name was. It turns out it was my friend Karlo, who they knew too! So out of all the Peruvian men in the country and world,  we 3 knew the same guy! Hermana Hutchinson and Hermana Grass and I knew the same Peruvian!

In January, my first Sunday back from holidays, I met a visting BYU student,  Sean Ellsworth. We did the normal song and dance when you meet a fellow non-Peruvian.
Where are you from?
The United States.
What state?
Arizona originally.
 What city.
What part.
Litchfield Park
My dad, stepmom and family live there.
 Turns out Seth's dad is Dr. Ellsworth, a local dentist who is in my dad's stake and/was my parent's dentist!

But, it gets even better- even smaller!

Back in February, I went to a missionary training meeting with the sister missionaries. I walked in to the mission home and was introduced to a sister. She looked familiar and I started talking to her.
So the dance begun. We knew we were both from the United States, so we started with:
What state?
What city?
Salt Lake City.
What part?
Cottonwood Heights.

During the prayer, it dawned on me... her name was Brittany, and we used to be in the Midvale 7th ward together with Bishop Barrow!

After the prayer, I asked her if her name was Brittany and if she used to be in the Midvale 7th ward. She replied "Yes."  We then did a name exchange. Do you remember Amber? Do you remember Lexi? And so forth.

It sure feels like a funnel, getting smaller and smaller here. I don't know how much smaller it can get, unless I discover some long lost relative here. Hey, it could happen, anything is possible in Peru! :D

The world is small in the LDS community! I'm grateful though for all the tender mercies the Lord has given me to remember and find the connections to home and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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