I sat at my computer for more than an hour today waiting for it to work, so I don´t have much time. I´ll write next week, but thank you for your letter. Are you gonna be in Ireland during Mother´s Day? I love you mom, thanks for everything!
Mom, What day is mother´s day? That´s awesome to hear about your fundraiser, I´m excited to be able to go back to Braille to help (and someday be the president). The Cheese Its werent crumbs when you got here, but the chicken and waffle chips, well, I think somebody must have snuck some caca into the bag because they tasted terrible. It reminded me well of Roscoe´s, but it gave me desires to throw up haha. But I love them, send them in every package hahaha. We don´t get the Ensign, if you want to send me the Ensign with all the conference talks in my next package, I woulnd´t argue. I can´t believe you´re going to Ireland, you´re doing all the cool trips without me! It´s alright, I´m on a cooler trip.
It was a good week. It´s starting to get cold, and instead of wearing a short sleeve shirt every day, wishing we could go out naked because its so hot, we spend the entire day in a suit. Last night, I emotionally felt like it was Christmas time, because Christmas here is super hot. I literally felt the Christmas spirit last night haha, too bad its APRIL! Things are going well though. We are working with a TON of families. There´s one familiy, the Familia Villegas, that has been going to church for four years without getting baptized because they´re not married. So many Elders have passed through this area and tried to help them to progress, but they weren´t ready. But we have helped them to put a date for their marriage, June 7th! We´re super excited. My first Sunday in this branch, they were in Gospel Principles, and I taught that day. I thought they were members! They had so many awesome things to say, and they participated more than the members do! I really hope they follow through with the marriage, and they´ll surely get baptized if they´re married. Pray for them! We are working with so many families, which is very exciting. It´s better to work with families than with individuals, because families immediately have a support system in the church and in the gospel. We are also working with less active families, many of which know the church is true, but don´t go for one reason or the other. Most less actives go inactive, not because they lost their testimony, but because they´re lazy, or work gets in the way, or even because their wife or husband got offended, and doesn´t let the other spouse go. The really strong members here are REALLY STRONG. I love these people, I love to get to know them and speak to them and have the chance to help them change their lives. I´m in an internet cafe right now and there's a bunch of teenagers playing computer games and screaming cuss words, I´m about to punch somebody hahahaha. I´m actually in the internet cafe of a family were are helping to activate haha. It´s a good life. Its a good time in the world. And that´s an understatement. Mom, be sure to send my letters to Tess so that she can upload them, please! Te amo, mamá.
Thanks for the update. I cant imagine you and dad with iPads, that's funny thought haha. I loved youth conference in high school, especially the one when I was on the youth committee. I enjoyed the responsibility that was given to me, it was way fun. I have not gotten a coat yet, and yes its getting cold. Which really sucks at about seven in the morning when I have to take a freezing cold shower. I'm getting used to it though. Two companionships live in that house. Its a cool house. There are four rooms, a bathroom, shower, a clothes washing area, and two kitchens all situated around a central area that is empty because we are poor haha. We love our house. The walls are not black, and there will always be tons of dogs as long as I'm in Bolivia. I almost get bit on a daily basis.
The was a baptism yesterday, of an 18 year old named Evaristo. He is super good, and we are hoping hes going to want to serve a mission. My last companion sent me an email telling me that an investigator that we were teaching was baptized. He is the brother of Edmundo, the one that got baptized when I was there. And now theyre working with the rest of the family. Its so cool to see that happening, that the family is slowly being completed. Nothing else really happened this week. We flew to Santa Cruz for a conference with Elder Grow of the Seventy. Thats pretty much it. I love you mom, and everyone else!
Thanks for your letter! The last two weeks were good. We went to Church on Sunday, but when we came back from the meetings, we didn't leave the house until Wednesday at noon. It was pretty terrible haha. Its an awesome house that we moved to, but dang three days? Nope. Carnaval, the holiday, I'm pretty sure is a celebration of the devil. They all get drunk and stupid, and throw water balloons at everyone they see, and sometimes it's not water in the balloon. They throw pee balloons. That's why we have to stay in the house. Even the few days before, people were throwing water balloons at us, but somehow, they missed every time haha. But it was cool, because I bought water balloons before being imprisoned in the house, and we had our own water balloon fight the four of us in the house haha. It was fun. The other days were normal. The city we are in is Villamontes. There is a city called Yacuiba an hour and a half south by the border of Argentina, and that's where the rest of the zone is. We came down to Yacuiba like five times in the last two weeks, and the car ride is teeeeerrible, they shove 10 people into a tiny van where you cant move for the whole ride. We´re here in Yacuiba now for a zone activity today. I´m glad everything is well mom.
Some things I´ve thought about telling you:
- Last week, we were blowing up balloons for a birthday party of the daughter of our Pensionista, and my companion put a palm sized balloon by my ear and popped it with his hand. In that moment, my hearing went away completely in my left ear. I was so man, I´m not even gonna go into depth about it. I didn't flip out on him, but wow. wow. I was really bummed, because I thought it would be permanent, and that would suck because of my love for music. I was super sad. But like two days later, I had accepted it, and I figured that was God´s way of choosing my career for me, and I was alright. But that day we had interviews with the president, and in my interview, he gave me a blessing and said that my hearing would not only return, but it would improve. And so its still a little messed up, but I´m not worried in the slightest bit. i have a great relationship with the president. you don't have to put that story in the blog.
- We were taking the bus this week, and to our surprise and a little bit of horror, the bus driver let his six year old son drive for a little while. Bolivia .
Thank you for your advice. I actually did have a special experience this morning where I recommitted to the Lord. I was reading a talk called "The Fourth Missionary" by Lawrence A. Corbridge about the kind of missionary that we have to be. And there is only 1 way to do it correctly. I learned while reading that 2 years is not a sacrifice, because these two years ALREADY belong to the Lord! I can´t give Him what He already has. The same holds true with tithing and many other things. But what He doesn´t have is my will, my heart. And so the only way I can serve an effective mission is if I give the Lord myself, not only my time and my lifestyle. If I´m always thinking about music and my life before the mission, I may as well not serve a mission, because I will be filled with shame and regret when I return home for having wasted so much time. But if my mind is in my mission, and if I use all my energy and thoughts to further the work of the Lord, I will give Him the ability to bless me. So this morning I recommitted to do what He wants me to do. I can definitely improve a lot of things. It´s important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect missionary. But I´m not continually improving, I will consider myself an unsuccessful missionary. And OOOOWEEEEE I do not want that guilt when I go home haha. I don´t want to waste time, because I´ve learned in the mission that it moves way faster than we want it to. Today marks seven months for me. SEVEN MONTHS! It´s scary how fast time flies.
- This week I was moved to a city in the state of Tarija called Villamontes. My whole mission I was in the capital city of the state, but now I´m in a rural jungle city smaller than La Verne. There´s one other companionship in this city, and the rest of the zone is two hours away by bus in a city called Yacuiba. I love this city so much!!!! I LOVE IT! It looks like the King Kong movie, seriously. It´s amazing. I have so many bug bites. I already know the streets and like all of the members. The water is straight brown when it comes out of the faucet. It´s disgusting. I think it comes straight from the river here. My companion is Elder Pacheco from Colombia. He arrived in the MTC the same day as me, but wasn´t there for as long as I was. I met him in Santa Cruz when we flew there a couple months ago for a day to do immigration stuff. He´s way cool. The area has been handled kind of lazily for the last few months, so I´m thankful for the opportunity I have to improve a lot of things and help the branch. We meet in a rented house for Sunday meetings, and there´s so few people, that they have us as missionaries count the tithing of the people haha. They say there´s two seasons here: "infierno e invierno", which means "hell and winter". The nickname for Villamontes is "El Infierno Verde", The Green Hell. It´s very hot and humid here haha. Look up some pictures on Google!
- I want to make sure you´re gonna send that picture book. Have you gotten it?? Also, some Abercrombie and Fitch cologne. Gracias!
That´s awesome that Lane wants to go on a mission. I´m proud of him. I wish we could spend some time together after my mission and before his, but I encourage him to do what He feels the Lord wants him to do. Thanks for your letter mom! I love you!
Mom, I´m well instructed on what not to eat. I just do it anyway...... How is Kathryn getting bored when she has the world wide web at her fingertips 23-7? You really start to appreciate those things when you don´t have them haha. That´s a bummer about Leigh-Ann. I know how much she loved that car haha. And that´s a super bummer about Suzie haha, I´m glad we got mine in on time! This last weekend was Edmundo´s baptism. It was crazy. We tried so hard to plan it well and make it a spiritual experience for him, but during the baptism, another companionship from elsewhere in the city came the the church and told us that their baptismal font wasn´t working, and they heard that ours was already full, and that they had to baptize their man that moment so that he could get to work on time. So we combined the baptism and baptized him right before Edmundo. It was crazy and stressful, but now that it has passed, it was really funny. Later that night we had a dinner at their house, and they thanked us so much, even though they´re not members, for helping Edmundo with his decision. They said that their house is now our house and we are welcome anytime. It is honestly so refreshing to not be rejected hahaha, but the rejection doesn´t get me down. It´s actually surprisingly easy to bear slamming doors, and we stay light hearted about it and laugh. The hardest part of all of this is getting people to actually read the Book of Mormon, and pray and go to church, and do the things they need to do to gain a testimony. No one does it! Its so tough haha.
- In that package, can you send some ties? The mission standard is a little more loose now and you can send me some pretty flashy ones. But not too much. - More than anything else, I need you guys to send me a book that you can buy at the distribution center. It´s called "Gospel Art Book", it´s an image book and on the front cover is one of those stands that holds up paintings. That is of extreme importance, please do all you can to get that book and get it to me. That book will literally change lives. - We were teaching a lesson to an investigator family, and half way through the lesson, my companion says, "Elder, look at that baby´s shirt." There was a baby in the mom´s lap, and I look, and his little shirt says, "Cougar Super Fan- Brigham Young University". What? Seriously? What are the chances? They bought it at a used clothing outdoor market haha. I´m still confused.