Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 6

The cute kiddos from the Fernandes family. The littlest boy next to me 
is Reacher. He is 6 years old and always knows that I have candy, 
so he gives me these puppy dog eyes. Ah, I love the kids!
Good morning all you beautiful people out there reading this,

P-day Change
So you may wonder if I died or something like that since I didn’t write yesterday, but no, I’m still alive and well. The mosquitoes are still eating me alive, but I think I’m going to make it. (We received word from the 'Missionary Moms' group that the mission p-day was changed to Tuesday for this week only. Thank heavens for technology when you have a missionary out).

Yesterday was transfers, and you will never believe who my new companion is! It’s Hermana Soto! She is the other girl in our house. She is from Guatemala and came to Bolivia at the same time as me! We are now companions, I am senior companion, and we are in the same area—thank heavens! We are really excited and have lots of ideas on how to make this area more successful.

Answering Questions . . .
No, Halloween isn’t really celebrated. I gave candy and the Halloween stickers with little notes to the kiddos and lots of adults as well, but I only saw probably two kids in costumes. It’s a little different here.

And no, we didn’t celebrate ‘Day of the Dead.’ All the people just close their shops and such and go to the cemetery to visit the dead.  It sounds like Halloween wasn’t much fun without me. Figures. I am a pretty fun person to be around . . . but it’s okay, soon I’ll be back home causing all sorts of chaos! Take care of Lyss for me, I miss her like crazy!

The two baptisms for this week were moved to this Saturday. They are the two boys from the Fernandes family. They are very excited for it. And our other one scheduled for Thursday may or may not happen. She is 9 years old and really wants to get baptized, but we may need to wait until her mom is active in the church again.

Mountains and Snow
Right now I just really want to see some mountains and snow. Please send pictures when there is lots of snow, okay? It’s almost depressing to not see my beautiful mountains. Before, I didn’t want to live there anymore, but now I want my mountains and snow!

Yes, I sang in Spanish at Eduardo’s baptism. I’m learning to let my talents show a little. No fear, right dad? :)

More News
I included pictures of the other things I may not be able to write today, so you can include them as pictures or type them out—either way. Thanks for everything, Mom. You are the best!

I’m not really sure when we get mail. It’s kinda whenever the zone leaders get around to picking it up from the mission office, but usually every Monday or every other Monday, I think. Thanks for sending the packages, I will watch for them. I know a few people have been getting packages with no problem, but I’ll keep them in my prayers as well.

That is a crazy story about the temple. I’m glad you got to go. I’m so jealous you guys get to go to the temple every week. I will never take it for granted again. These people sometimes are only able to go once a year because the temple is so far away, while we have at least 7 within a short driving range. GO TO THE TEMPLE—every opportunity you get (D&C 128).

RS Missionary Lesson
For your Relief Society lesson, tell them that the most important missionary work they can do right now is in the temple. I know it may be hard in Utah to find people who don’t know about the church or aren’t members, so if they can’t share the Gospel in that way, do missionary work in the Temple. We taught Eduardo about this yesterday from D&C  128 and its beautiful. It says that they need us and we need them in order to receive eternal life. GO TO THE TEMPLE! It will bless many lives and you are all so blessed to have the temples so close. 

Okay, now on to business . . .
Got Mail?
First off, have you gotten any more letters in the mail? I've mailed a bunch, so let me know if you've gotten them. Look for something special in the mail. I sent it last week with one of the elders, so hopefully it gets there before Christmas. Don’t be too excited—it’s not a lot, but I thought I’d send a little something. (We actually got it today—hopefully we'll have just as much luck getting hers to Bolivia).

Mission Blog
I’m so glad you can view the photos on the mission blog. Hermana Zambrano always takes so many pictures so you’ll all know that I am alive and well in Bolivia! (If you’re interested, her mission blog is: MisionSantaCruzNorte.blogspot.com. Choose "English" in the Translation box on the right sidenot a perfect translation, but helpful for us non-Spanish speakers).

Tea Time
Every day at 4:00 p.m. we have "tea time" at a recent member’s house. She is well off, has a really nice house, and insists that we come over every day for food and tea. I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty great! She has a maid that makes it for us and usually she isn’t there, but it’s just a kind gesture and a little pick me up during the day.
Rain in San Javier—there was so much water we had to wear rain boots!
Service with the Fernandes family. They are building a new house and 
we wanted to help, so we took nails out of boards so they could re-use 
them. It was lots of fun, but hard work in the sun, and during our fast. 
(Grandpa Cozzens will be so proud!)
New baby ducks. They were just born and we got to hold them! So cute, Lyss!
Girls’ Days
So, last p-day and this week’s p-day, we went to the mission home and hung out with Hermana Zambrano and all of the hermanas! For the first one, we made blueberry muffins and brownies. We got to talk to everyone for a long time and I got to see all the girls I came with and speak English the whole time. Later, we all talked about the ups and downs of the mission, companions, missing family and friends, etc. It was great fun!

This past week, we made lasagne and brownies and again were able to talk to all of the English-speaking girls, then we watched a movie . . . in English! We watched Ephraim’s Gift, part of the 17 Miracles movie. It helped me remember the gratitude I feel for the pioneers and their sacrifices for us. I’m especially grateful for their sacrifice that led to the building of the Temple. Oh, how I miss the Temple! I wear my YW medallion every day to remind myself that, in due time, I’ll be able to go back. Please attend the temple—especially ya’ll who live so close to so many! It breaks my heart in two that the people here only have one temple and most can only go once a year because it is so far away. Make time and make yourself worthy to enter—it’s the place where we can feel closest to our Heavenly Father.
There is a huge stack of Liahonas and Ensigns in our house, and after searching all of them, I found some in English! I’ve been reading the November 2012 Conference issue when President Monson announced the missionary age change. I’m gonna be completely honest here, when I say that I don’t remember a lot of it because my mind was preoccupied with the announcement.

The other day, I read President Uchtdorf’s talk, “Of Regrets and Resolutions.” Look it up and read it! He explained that there are three common regrets that people have before passing on from this life. They are:
  • I wish I had spent more time with the people I love
  • I wish I had lived up to my potential
  • I wish I had let myself be happier
There are so many great quotes, and my copy is completely marked up. In our everyday lives, and especially here on the mission, we need to cherish moments with people, become what God intends us to become, and remember that life “isn’t a race—it’s a journey.”

Blessings and Miracles
I’m seeing many blessings and miracles out here and I’m really recognizing God’s hand in all things.   
  • People who, in the past, rejected the Gospel, are now accepting.
  • Dad, I’m actually able to get around here without calling you and saying, “Daddy, I’m lost . . . again!”
  • My Spanish, according to President Zambrano, is a miracle, since in our first interview I couldn’t really say much of anything.
  • Before, I had the hardest time remembering names—and they were in English. But here, I’m remembering everyone, which is truly a blessing!
  • In my setting-apart blessing, President Wilkes said I would have memories and stories come to my remembrance as I am teaching. That has happened! I find myself recounting every experience and being able to share my testimony and experiences with the people we teach. My awful memory has become clear—with His help!
Interview with President
On Tuesday, we had interviews with President Zambrano, which were much needed and really nice. He commented that my Spanish is great and that he thinks I am learning fast and am going to be a really great missionary. He told me he wants to change up companionships and possibly put me with Hermana Soto (she is a native, but came in my group) or maybe have me train. I was shocked and when he asked me what I thought, all I could say was, “Please don’t move me from this area. I love the ward and really don’t want to go.” He laughed and said that he would pray about it. I guess we will find out on Monday.

Saying "Thanks"
Hermana Soto and I are doing great! I’m really excited and I think we can really help in this area. Yesterday we took a thank you note and a little cake to Hermana Quesada. She does our laundry and she was so excited to hear that we were companions. She is a returned missionary and told us that we need to help this ward. We are going to try our very best.

Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts on my behalf. I love you all and hope all is well. 


Hermana Nelson

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