Monday, September 30, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 1

Bus Ride to the Hotel

Well, the moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived. I only have about 30 minutes to write right now, so it’s going to be quick, but as soon as I am able to upload pictures, I will send pictures of my journal with much more detail.

It sounds like you all had a good week. Although I have technically only been in the field for 4 days, it feels like months.

Goodbye—no, Hasta Luego
We said our final goodbyes in Mexico at 3:30 a.m. The other elders (Bradshaw, Williams, Knowles, and Maw) came to see us off—which was a really huge sacrifice and also a really good thing since Elder Folland and Evans didn’t wake up. (I’m sure there’s quite a story there . . . )

We were able to talk to our families in Panama. We were there for about 3 hours calling and some of the elders wanted to talk longer, so since they were technically my "companions," I just sat and waited. Luckily I was there, though, because Elder Evans got a really bad nose bleed and I had to be his “mom” for a little while and clean up his mess.

Elder Evans multi-taskingtalking and bleeding!
We got some Subway and chilled for the next few hours until we could board the plane.

Plane to Bolivia
I sat by Elder Evans on the way to Bolivia and neither of us could sleep so we just stayed up and chatted for a long time. It was fun and he’s a lot like Dev, so it was nice to talk to him about stuff. After a very long 6-hour flight, we arrived at the airport and got to do all of the fun immigration and baggage check and such. After passing through the doors, there was the Zambrano family with a cute sign welcoming all of us. Pres. and Hermana Zambrano have 2 kids, Gabrielle, and Daniel. Daniel is 17 and has special needs. They immediately made us feel welcome and comfortable.

President and Hermana Zambrano Made us Feel Welcome and Comfortable
Burger King?!
Yep, they gave us Burger King on the bus on the way to the hotel. It was great.
For the next few days, we mostly just stayed at the hotel and hung out. I have more about what we did in my journal entries, so you can read those later, but it was actually pretty boring.

We ate lots of good food—sorry, I can’t pull a Devan and describe every meal we ate, and exactly what I ate at the buffet, but I will just say it was really good food! The end.

Welcome Dinner
Orientation and Companions
I can’t go into much depth, but we had orientation, then we found out who our companions are and where we are serving. My companion is Hermana Suxo from Cochabamba. She is waiting for her visa to Venezuela, so she is serving here for the time being. She has been here for 3 months and I am her first "daughter" or trainee. It was really sad leaving everyone. I cried a lot—especially since neither my companion or the other two hermanas going to our area with us spoke any English. Our area is Charcas and our zone is Parais. It’s close to the city and our area is split between the other hermanas and us.
New Missionaries and Companions
Quesada Familia
We are supposed to visit members every day—which is one of my favorite parts. We were able to meet the Quesada family whose dad is the Stake President. They are an awesome family. Their oldest son is 18 and speaks English! It made my day since I hadn’t really spoken any language for a while.

Letters take about 3 weeks to get here and packages take 4 or more. I sent a letter to the fam today, so it will be a while before you get it.

Also, you may need to ask about the address for packages. Pres. said something about a change of address, but I wasn’t able to communicate with my companion about it.

I was having a really rough time at first with the whole language thing. I was crying a lot (yes, more than usual) and was getting really frustrated, but things are getting better. As soon as I stopped worrying about myself and started thinking about the welfare of others, I felt much better. The hard part is when I am worrying about myself and thinking about me, me, me. When I focus on our investigators and their needs, I feel much better.

I know this is where I am meant to be. I know that serving is going to bless many people’s lives.

My feet hurt, I can’t understand a word people are saying, people look at me like I am the first white person they have ever seen, men on the street whistle and say things my companion won’t explain, the food is different and I can’t find my way around a grocery store, we knock doors all day with little to no success, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I know the Lord is with me every step of the way. I have to pray so fervently and sincerely for help. I love the people.

I will try to send pictures next week. Sorry this is so short. I love you all so much!

Please keep the prayers coming!


Hermana Nelson

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