Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

You didn´t send me a letter this week, so I´m just gonna ramble about myself. So, I´ve actually taken up a lot of interest in soccer. My companion is a ridiculous fan, and it just so happens the the World Cup starts in like two weeks (which I will actually watch in four years). He´s taught me all the technical rules, and the names for everything (in Spanish), and some techniques. There are fallen oranges and grapefruits everywhere in Villamontes, so when we´re walking, we practice passing to each other and a few other tricks, and it´s really fun! So there´s the back story, I am now a pretty big soccer fan. Sometimes we come down south an hour and a half to the city of Yacuiba (which is actually a really beautiful city with some amazingly beautiful buildings and houses) to play soccer with the zone of 14 missionaries. Today was the second day. During our personal study this morning, the zone leaders called us and told us to get in the van that goes to Yacuiba as quickly as possible. So we finished, changed, and ran to the stop. As we approached, we saw that there wasn´t a single trufi (that´s what they call these vans), where there is usually a line of about 20. We got closer to the office and saw that there was a sign that said there are no trufis running today, because another trufi company has started and is charging less than the original, and so the original company has gotten really mad and has made a blockade with hundreds of vans (and we will find out later that there are actually many blockades). We were really bummed out because we really wanted to play, and walked back to the house all discouraged. When we were about to leave to go to the internet cafe, the zone leaders called us and told us that there was another trufi company that somehow had permission to go through the blockades. So we hopped into a taxi and went to the stop, but there was nothing. The taxi driver told us that we could wait about ten minutes into the highway for a random vehicle that was going and see if they would bring us. So he took us there, and we found a guy with an empty van that took us, about ten minutes farther on the highway to the (first) blockade. We got out, he charges us way too much for such a short trip, and we walked passed the blockade. There were a bunch of drivers of the trufis just sitting there, chewing coca, smoking and drinking, and they started to yell at us as we walked by since we found a loop hole to their stupid plan. We passed everything, and behind all their parked vans was a pile of big branches with two big Bolivian flags set up on it. We passed, and there was another group of people there waiting for something to happen haha. And so it was really scary and thrilling because we kept moving forward in this weird spontaneous trip, without knowing if there would be a means to keep going, the whole time running the risk that we would get stuck in the middle of the tropical jungle with no means of getting back to Villamontes, nor continuing on to Yacuiba. But we kept going because YOLO (I don´t care if my use of YOLO angers anyone, I love YOLO). So we started walking, nothing more. Walking farther into the jungle, when we saw a big truck that had just come from Yacuiba, and was going toward Villamontes, but had decided to turn around. I would say it was 300 yards away, and we just started running and screaming so that he would stop. We finally arrived, legs tired and throats sore, and he told us that he wasn´t going to go all the way, but that he would take us to as far as he was gonna go for 10 pesos. So we got up into the back of the big truck. There were wood walls as tall as me, and inside there was a big tarp and like ten bags of coal. As we were going, we picked up six more people, and I felt like a cow in the back of this truck. I took a bunch of pictures and videos. I was so sore at this point, because we ran so much without like stretching, plus I pulled a muscle in my leg
like a week ago, and the pain all came back from running. And I was cold and it starting to rain while we were cows in the back of the truck. We got to where he was gonna go, which was a tiny little pueblo in the jungle between two important cities, with a population of probably 60. It was literally the middle of nowhere. We started knocking doors to find someone who could take us to Yacuiba, and someone found a little taxi. But remember that we were 10 in the back of that truck? ALL TEN OF US GOT IN THIS LITTLE TAXI! And he took us most of the way, then he left us (and also charged us WAY too much), we walked through the (second) blockade, found a taxi, and went to the (third) blockade. He brought us to the (fourth) blockade, charged us way too much, and we walked into the city of Yacuiba to find a taxi to take us to the soccer field. It turns out that there were blockades all throughout the city, so we had to walk like 20 blocks to the field, where we played, pretty crudely because my companion hurt his ankle and I played with a pulled muscle in my dominant leg. But we won. Now its six oclock in Yacuiba, we should be visiting in Villamontes, but there are still blockades so we may sleep in sports clothes on the ground at the zone leaders house tonight. I really don´t know what the rest of the night has in store, but you´ll find out next week. It´s been pretty hilarious and fun. Also, during this
week, I had a companionship exchange with the zone leaders, and I was here in Yacuiba. I went to the bridge that crosses the border of Bolivia with Argentina, and took a picture. So know I know what Argentina smells like. I have more to tell, but we have to stop writing early to go to the trufi stop to see if they´ve stopped being little girls. So I´ll talk to you next week!

Elder Wilkinson 

June 2, 2014

It truly is great how music touches the soul. It sounds so cheesy, but I really do feel like music is part of like me, like its an extra limb or something. I don't feel like myself when I don´t have music. That was a big transition for me going into the mission. I love "Where Can I Turn for Peace?", I also love "Be Still My Soul". I chose both of those songs to be sung at the sacrament meeting of my farewell talk. A song can heal a weary soul. 

- I saw Elder RisueƱo (RJ, the guys who came to church with me the
week before I left) in Tarija for a leadership training meeting. He
came up to me and told me that Hermana Jojola, OR SUZIE, started her
mission in the district where he is district leader. I told him to
tell her hi for me. She started her mission in the same city where I
started mine
- This is such a special time for our family! We are all experiencing
such grand adventures, every single one of us! I love this time of our
lives. We have so many reasons to be thankful.

To finish this letter, I have a challenge for Dad, Mom, Tess, Conrad,
Kathryn, Lane, and EVERYONE else who is reading this letter. There is
a new video that was made by the Church, called "Because of Him". My
challenge for you all is that you watch it on YouTube [or click that link], and that you post it on facebook with a short testimony of how Christ has blessed
the life and/or the life of your family, and that you challenge others
to participate in the same challenge. I can´t post the video, but I
have a firm testimony of Christ. HE is the reason we do everything we
do. HE is the reason life is enjoyable, HE is the reason we feel love,
happiness, peace, understanding, forgiveness, contentment and every
other good thing in this world. HE is the reason we pick ourselves up
and move forward, HE is our light. HE gave us everything. HE is our
best friend. HE is our Savior. And He loves us. I feel that love. And
I love Him for loving me.

And tell me about the results!

Elder Wilkinson