Monday, February 28, 2011


Mark's former companion, Elder Orihuela wrote to us to tell us about one of his favorite Peruvian foods.  It is Pachamanca.  Here is a recipe, a picture, and a couple links to help you see what it is like:


Pachamanca En Olla
Andean Harvest Pit Roast In A Clay Pot

Yield: 8 portions
  • 2 lb. Lamb, leg, or chops (optional)
  • 2 lb. Chicken, quarters (optional)
  • 2 cups Marinada Anticuchera (recipe follows)
Marinada de Cilantro (2 cups)
  • 1 cup Chicha de Jora
  • 1 bu. Cilantro, stems and leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. Raw Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 cup Huacatay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • Salt, to taste
Tubers, Legumes, and Corn
  • 1 lb. Fava beans, in pods
  • 8 Heirloom corn ears, shucked, cleaned
  • 1 lb. Ocas
  • 1 lb. Purple Peruvian potatoes, whole
  • 1 lb. Fingerling potatoes, whole
  • 1 lb. Yams, white or red, whole
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Huacatay sprigs, as needed
  • Paico sprigs, as needed
  • Rosemary sprigs, as needed
  • Oregano sprigs, as needed
  • Spearmint sprigs, as needed
  • Thyme sprigs, as needed
  • 1 tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 cups Salsa de Ají Amarillo (recipe follows)
  1. Marinate the lamb in the marinada anticuchera for 12 hours.
  2. Blend all of the ingredients for the marinada de cilantro. Pour over the chicken marinate, for 1–4 hours.
  3. Soak the fava beans, tubers, and corn in water for 1 hour.
  4. Place the marinated lamb in the bottom of each pot, cover with a layer of potatoes corn and herbs. Place a second layer of chicken on top and continue layering the potatoes, corn and finally the fava beans. Pack the herbs tightly into the crevices of the pot and seaon the ingredients with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  5. Mix together the flour and water. The mixture should form a thick paste. Cake the paste in an even layer around the seam of each clay pot.
  6. Cook over a high flame for 35 minutes. Remove the clay pots from the stove and let the pachamancas rest for another 10 minutes before breaking the seam. Do not let the pachamancas sit or the contents will get soggy.
  7. Serve with salsa de ají amarillo.
Note: Any combination of the above ingredients can be combined for the pachamanca – one meat, two meats, or entirely vegetarian.

Monday, February 14, 2011

14 February 2011

Dear Family,

I would really like to go rock climbing too! That sounds really fun. The last time I went [was] with two friends from high school and it was a blast.  [It was] around the place Paul went carting. Pretty intense there.

I changed the resolution of the pictures to be able to send SOMETHING: haha, pretty useless 14 megapixels when you can only really use 3. But it's ok. Ill be able to shoot about 2000 more with my two little 2 gig cards.

So the big news is last night at around 1 I got a call from the District Learder, saying: pack your bags you're going to Tacna! Your companion will be Elder Stewart in the LeGuia area in the Alameda Zone. We are literally the last area in Peru before Chile. I think tomorrow or this week I will catch a glimpse of Chile on the horizon when we travel down to the south of our two ward area.

At 2:30 I finished packing everything (sharp contrast to packing to leave on the mission in August) and tried to catch a couple hours of sleep.. but couldn't. Mind racing.

At 4:30 a.m., I got up and showered, got dressed and ate breakfast. We left to go to the house of the Zone Leaders, and when they were ready, I left to catch the bus for Tacna with Elder Huacaychuco (my old zone leader will still be my Zone leader here).

The bus was super interesting. We were an interesting gaggle of Peruvians, European backpackers, a few high class south American young couples including a member of a band, a few hippies I think, and two missionaries. I briefly thought about the group dynamics if we crashed in the desert, a lasting impact of the little Lost that I watched.

Speaking of the desert, it is really deserty! Some pictures should (better) arrive of a couple scenes we passed. There were several stages of desert as we left Arequipa. First we wound through lots of hills that were very rocky, angular, jutting. Then there started to be white sand between the reddish rocks. The sand concentration increased until we were driving through large dunes, which changed to have hard shells of sand. Finally we began to descend into flat and big valleys. The only sign of life between us and the distant and wavery sand (because of the convection off the sand) was the string of high tension high voltage power lines following the road at a respectful distance.

We passed through several little pueblitos which appeared out of the desert at periodic intervals. Stopping, local women would board the bus and offer us desserts, exotic fruits, calamari shrimp, and soda, while a few passengers deboarded.

We passed Mocegua, where Elder Orihuela is. That's all I'm sure of.

I shall miss Augusto Freyre I think. The last day we did splits, I contacted around 100 people, and Elder Hernandez visited a few families and contacted. In church I described why baptism in any church that doesn't have the authority to do so isn't a covenant with God to an investigator young woman who was doubting a lot the need [to be baptized], and later she told my companion that she wants to be baptized next Saturday. Another investigator too will be baptized next Saturday (Gabriela, and the young woman is Raquel Alejandra). Augustine too might, but it's not sure. So that's what I left.

What I found is my companion from the CCM!!! Elder Stewart is the bomb. Only problem is that we are both gringos and have a year combined, but that's alright. We shall see miracles here in Tacna.

Feel a little like a noob again since I don't know the area at all, but it's kinda invigorating to be new again!

I got a mountain of Dear Elders from y'all. Thanks!!!

Love Elder Johnson 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8, 2011 Ornos, New housing miracle, Leaving appointments

Dear family!

In the bus on the way here, the radio was playing "More Than a Feeling", by Boston. At the same time I noticed a strange red liquid streaked on the right sleeve...  No idea what it is or where it's from.. I'm hoping the shirt isn't ruined.

This week the zone leaders had a meeting the day that we usually get mail so I didn’t get the monstrous pile that assuredly is waiting. Next week I hope.

We have definitely seen a bunch of miracles this week. For starters, we realized we needed to change our room to somewhere else,. but didn't know where, and I had no idea how to go about changing all that... but if we don't, we continue to live in, like Elder Hernandez says, iniquidad [iniquity].

A day or two later we knocked a door one day and while waiting for the person to come out, a member walked by. She chatted with us a little, and when she was leaving, all of a sudden turned around and said, "Oh if you someday need a room, our third floor is about to be vacated. So just let us know!"  Elder Hernandez and I just looked at each other and laughed. At the end of the month we can move [to] it. Their third floor is really, really cool. I want a top floor like that in my dream house.

This week we met two kids who want to be members of the church, and have been going to church. One is Johan.  When he is naughty, he is punished by his nonmember mom by not being able to go to church! He is reading the Book of Mormon too!

This Saturday we have an actividad [activity] with the Relief Society that shall be awesome. We are gunna talk with everyone in our area over the next few weeks with this help from the ward. It's called the "plan of attack". [We will be ] splitting up in groups [and] we are going to contact tons and tons of people (goal of 300) Saturday. Then we will start to teach them.

We tried this with the young men, but only one showed. I think the Relief Society are going to set the bar really high for all the others in the next weeks.

Our new ward mission leader is great... except doesn't have a ton of time-- more than the last one. Hopefully with these activities (and we have been training a few of the future missionaries-- their help) we are gunna turn around the attitude of the ward towards the missionaries and the obra missional [missionary work].

I think we know 5 people who can be baptized in February. I hope we can be sufficient for this goal.

We were at an activity of the Relief Society for a bit, and they cooked about 100 chickens in what is called an orno, basiaclly an oven gigantic [like the evidence of Spanish grammar there?]. 10 feet long, burns wood, and accessed by a door 1 foot by 2. Very cool. All the people from everywhere bring their food to these houses that have ornos and the owners cook the food for the monies.

What I'd really like to learn this next week is how to leave a house. It's really easy to teach or chat sometimes for an hour an a half, but we should never be in a house for more than an hour, and that's if we meet the max teaching time of 45 minutes. Right now I just kinda stand up, interrupting the post prayer conversation, since my attempts to guide them to let us go usually fail. It works, but I don't like leaving this way.

We met a really interesting fellow who told us he knows everything and doesn't have any doubts about the Bible or our message, the Book of Mormon, but only kind of believes in God, and doesn't think the Church of Jesus Christ [of Latter-day Saints] is true. Oops.


Elder Johnson  

Some New Pictures January 2011

Peruvian coins

The translation for verse 10 is basically, "How is it that you are not keeping the commandments of God?  How is that you should perish
because of the hardness of your hearts?"