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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts on Machu Picchu (circa 2005)

I recently ran across an email I sent out during my internship in Chile a while back. I had to go out of the country to renew my visa and ended up at Machu Picchu. Please forgive my run-on sentences, I was used to speaking and writing exclusively in Spanish. I also added pictures as points of interest.

¡Un afectuoso saludo a todos!

Well, here's another one of those e-mails that everyone gets to read, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm safe back in Chile again, Peru was a great experience, but it feels so much better to be back in Chile and back to life here working with the kids in Iquique. I am sending some pictures of some kids I work with, they are the greatest and continue to teach me so many things every day, about how we should live enjoying the littlest things that we experience here. Also I want to clarify that the picture of me is not by an ancient drawing, but rather in a little zoo they have here in the beach Cavancha of Iquique, good try though huh?

I've been asked a lot about a recent trip to Peru, and how it went with me going to Machu Picchu. Well, we'll start with how it all began, I was planning on going to Tacna, a Peruvian city that borders northern Chile. Well, after a day there and a tour of the city and the desert surrounding it, it was decided to go someplace greener, but it wasn't expected to take so long!! The bus ride was and adventure in itself, supposed to have been a 15 hr. ride that turned into a 22 hr. ride with stops in Puno , and every little town between Tacna and Cusco I think. I was so happy to be in Cusco, and I was amazed at the beauty of the city.

The next day was an interesting day with a train ride to a pueblo called Aguas Calientes and a bus ride to Machu Picchu. There is another way to see Machu Picchu that I would like to do the next time, which is to hike the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu, I understand that it takes a couple of days and you can stay in a tent, or even with people that live along the trail that don't charge much, they are more interested in sharing with other people from different countries and cultures.

There was a little hike past the entrance to the city and once you go up the trail and are able to see the city it takes your breath away how beautiful it is and how magnificent the surroundings are. The surrounding mountains are incredible and almost surreal! It is amazing to think that the Incan people were able to construct such a magnificent city in such a location, with terracing that is absolutely breathtaking, especially if you get vertigo. Literally these terraces overlook a cliff that falls I have no idea how far, but it's enough to make even the bravest take a few steps back. I was most impressed with the structures and the feel of the place, it was absolutely magnificent, it was a place of spiritual learning, with temples.

It is amazing to think of how we all search for higher ground to communicate with God. It made me think of the blessing that the temple is, to be able to leave the monotony of worldly life to higher spiritual ground where we are able to learn of our purposes as God's children and make covenants with Him to return to His presence. There was that feeling there, a sincere desire to learn and a longing to return to a higher presence, yet it lacked the essence of spirituality, it lacked the essential and simple truths that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers.

I was amazed at the beauty, at the intelligence, but saddened by the lack of essential knowledge that brings real happiness in this life, which is that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who knows us individually and loves us unconditionally, that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, who atoned for ours sins, saving us from them, not in them. He provides the way out of the world in which are present many distractions that will drag us down into confusion and error, and ultimately into unhappiness that is contrary to the purpose of our existence. What a wonderful and simple way it is! He atoned for our sins, he has shown us step by step, teaching us by example, reminding us through prophets both ancient and actual, the way to follow, the manner of happiness which is the purpose of our entire existence, and the design and desire of our Heavenly Father. If we follow Him we will find happiness which is sure. If we don't, we, as the ancient Incan people, will be left to a our intelligence that is capable of creating earthly wonders, for we are children of an God of perfect knowledge and intelligence.

As His children we also long for a higher intelligence, for sure knowledge of truths, of purpose of our existence. This was very evident in the amazing temples built by this ancient people, they longed to acquire sure knowledge. They were amazingly accurate in studies of constellations, of knowledge of the universe and the rotations of the solar system, yet they lacked the very heavenly knowledge that they so earnestly sought for, and ironically in a sense it is far less complicated than the mappings and gyrations of the solar system. This sure and pure knowledge is present in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, in the temples of today, it is a sure knowledge that is revealed, taught, and testified to us by the Holy Ghost, a very member of the God Head that can be our companion. A fountain of pure knowledge that we may drink from while others as the Incans suffered dehydration of spirit, what an incredible blessing!

What an incredible blessing to be able to climb altitudes above those of the Andes Mountains in the temple to receive our communication with the heavens, and this communication comes without worry of cloud cover, unlike Machu Picchu where the clouds are neighbors. This is if we are worthy of the Holy Ghost which will show us the things that we must do. How amazing is this power! It could only have been dreamt of by the ancient Incan people of Machu Picchu! For this reason I felt sorrow for them, so great a potential that lacked the essential to complete it. But don't let that ruin the trip for you, because it really was amazing to see the capacity of humankind here on this earth! If we desire we may be the means of doing much good!

The Incans were able to achieve amazing feats in the shadow of the mount Machu Picchu, but we are able to achieve all things in the light of our Lord! What blessings we have! Pure, simple knowledge in the gospel of Christ, in the scriptures, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost which we receive as worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church of Him who we follow in light.

So, reflecting on Machu Picchu, I was breath-taken with what they achieved in the views of the Peruvian mountains, but could take a deep breath of tranquility to take in the wonders of what we as children of God can eternally achieve wherever we may be.

Con mucho cariño a todos,



Our Family

Our Family
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