Monday, March 17, 2014

Bolivia, Equipetrol—Week 1

Hermana Hussey from SLC is my new companion!
Family and Friends,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Yes, I did remember. We are all wearing green today even though they don’t celebrate it here.

You Know You’re in Bolivia When . . .
. . . the bus driver plays, “how many Bolivians (& two Americans) can you fit in the bus?”
. . . when the lady in front of you on the bus is holding a baby chick . . . that she bought in the street . . . and it’s just in a bag . . . and will grow up to be lunch one day. Awesome.
. . . when people walk past you quickly on the street, then stop and turn around with their mouths open because they’ve never seen two Americans together before.
Oh, how I love Bolivia!

Well, crazy news. I finally moved to my second area of the mission! I am now on the other side of the city in an area about ten times bigger than Charcas. I am in Equipetrol with Hermana Hussey from SLC! (I'm never going to learn Spanish at this rate . . . haha!) We are opening this area because all of the hermanas that were here before got transferred. It’s pretty crazy stuff since we are both in the same group and only have 7 months, but we are having a blast getting to know the members and the new area. This is only her second area as well, so it’s going to be a good time.

I hope your week was great. I don’t really have much to say about ours since we just got here and are still trying to find all the houses, but hopefully there will be a better update next week.

I have been feeling the spirit so strongly this past week and I’m so glad for the influence of my Heavenly Father in my life every day. I know this Church is true and that I am where I need to be. I love you all so much! Thanks for the letters and words of encouragement. You are all the reason I’m here and the reason I can keep on going every day.

I read a Conference talk this week by Elder Scott from the October 2013 Conference. It’s about the atonement and it is spectacular. Look it up.

Con muchisimo amor,

Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
March 11, 2014 
We passed by to talk to V. today, but she was pretty busy, so we talked to Hermano W. instead. It was a really rough lesson, but we found out a lot of things. He told us he won’t ever come back to church because he’s made so many mistakes over the years and he doesn’t believe he’ll ever feel cleansed from them. We tried sharing so many scriptures and other things, but in the end we could only share our testimonies that at any time we can repent and come back. It was really hard to hear him tell us that he won’t ever come back and I cried a lot when he told us. All I could do was tell him that he needs to come back so he can feel good again and that we care a lot about him. It’s amazing how in such a little time you can care so much about a person. I just hope and pray that one day he’ll come back.

March 12, 2014
Wow! I know without a shadow of a doubt that this work is true. I know that God is here helping us in every moment and is working miracles through us every day. We went to visit Hermana V. today and she and Hermano W. were waiting for us. We were a bit worried at first because Hermano W. usually complicates lessons, but I don’t know what happened . . . he really was touched by what we told him yesterday.

We didn’t even have a plan, but we said the prayer and Hermana Smith started reading in JSH. From there, we just were thinking of scriptures, bearing testimony, and being led completely by the Spirit. We talked about so many things—repentance, fighting Satan, faith, enduring to the end, etc. And this morning we read a Conference talk by Elder Scott about the exact things we needed to talk to them about. It was so powerful. We felt the Spirit so strong and I know that they did too. Hermano W. had a complete change that I was praying so much for!

Probably the most powerful part was when we talked about their faith. We were also talking about repentance and I had an impression to challenge them to live the commandments to the fullest. I told them that if they stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes, and closed their shop on Sunday, they would receive lots of help from the Lord. W. tried to interrupt me and tell me why they can’t do that, but I just cut him off and told him to listen. With all the power and courage I could muster, I promised them, as a servant and representative of Jesus Christ, that if they exercise their faith just a little to do this, they will be okay and they will receive even more money than if they had continued as they are now. It was dead silent—not one car passed and not one dog barked (which is extremely uncommon) and he accepted it.
I can’t even express how happy I am right now. I want to change areas to get to know other places, but now we are finally getting somewhere with Hermano W. and I kind of want to stay to help him come back. I guess we’ll see what happens tonight.

Cambios (Transfers)
I am transferring to an area called Equipetrol (2) and my companion will be Hermana Hussey from SLC! Yay!

March 13, 2014
Moving Day
After getting everything packed and resting a little until we had to leave, Hermana Carol came to visit. She told me to tell my mom that she raised a good daughter. Then Hermana Lucy came with two saltenas (like empanadas) for our breakfast and said goodbye and cried a lot. Then the Quezadas. I told them, “no crying!” but as soon as I hugged Hermana Quezada, I couldn’t help it. She told me I need to continue on, work hard, and never forget them. She said that they consider me as a daughter, and then each of them gave me a little note or “recuerdo.” Juan gave me a tiny blue cup because Hermana Smith and I always played the cup game with them. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but I know I’ll see them again.

Then we headed off. I said goodbye to my zone and Hermana Smith. We met at another chapel (the new Stake Center), then Hermana Hussey and I headed off to our new house. We live above a couple of liquor stores on just about the busiest road in this area. We had a real fun time carrying our suitcases up a flight of very steep stairs, but we got all done just in time to help the other two hermanas get their stuff up the stairs as well. We are living with Hermana Pulsipher (from Oregon) and Hermana Navarro (from Cochabamba). The house is pretty nice. We have a huge kitchen and a balcony (sort of) . . . but the view is just a car lot and roads.

Hermana Hussey and I got all unpacked and stayed in today to get to know the investigators and members based on the information in the Area Book. We have lots of work to do, but we are excited! Since we are all four new to this area, we will have to work lots with the members and that will be really good. We met the Ward Mission Leader and let’s just say it will be an interesting experience. I’m excited for all that is new.

March 14, 2014
Today was Tiring
We have now learned the importance of the Area Book and why we need to write everything down correctly. Opening a new area is very hard. We’ve gotten lost quite a few times, but we are slowly getting the hang of it.

We live in an area that is very rich and also very dangerous. We have to be in by about 7:30, and if it’s any later, we have to be with a member. A couple of hermanas got robbed in this area just about three months ago, so we are going to be very careful. I don’t really know anyone yet, so I can’t write about them, but soon we’ll get the hang of it. I’m excited!

March 15, 2014
Saturday is a Special Day, It’s the Day we Get Ready for Sunday . . . 
Well, we spent a lot of time cleaning the house today. We found probably about 200 spiders (Alyssa says that she must be growing up!), but they weren’t too big, so that was good news. Then we walked and walked and walked (like the pioneer children) . . . but it was good fun. We played soccer in the street with some kids and had a good ol’ time.

Then we were trying to think of ways that we can help another Hermana in the house and we decided to have lunch together tomorrow, so we made breakfast casseroles tonight. We’re excited!

Crazy news . . . The missions just all got shut down because of everything going on, so now three more hermanas are coming in. The situation is really bad down there, so it’s a good thing they’re all in different missions. (She didn't mention which missions).

March 16, 2014
First Day in Equipetrol
The ward was really great today. We were actually pretty surprised when everyone came up to say “hi,” give us their numbers, and tell us when they can come with us on visits. I think this ward is going to be real good.

Hermana Martha
After our breakfast casserole lunch, we visited with a member named Martha. She said she had a friend that she wanted us to talk to, so we went. She told us he wants to serve a mission, but let’s just say he’s got a few things to learn. We had the lesson going right to the bottom of the swimming pool, but we rescued it, and then gave him the Elders’ address because he isn’t in our area. 

Then, like pioneer children, we walked and walked and walked.

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