Monday, April 28, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 1

Dear Family and Friends,

Although I never thought it would happen, I got transferred out of Equipetrol! I’m now in Jardin with Hermana Rivera. She’s really great and I think we are going to have fun.

I hope your week was a good one. I miss you all like crazy, but time is literally flying by. Before I know it, I’m going to be in my last area saying goodbye for real. Luckily, I still have 10 months left, but that is 10 months less to preach the gospel to the amazing people of Bolivia. I’m doing my best to stay healthy so I can spend every minute working hard. 

I love you all!

xoxo Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
Crazy Day!
We visited lots of people. Well, not exactly “visited” and taught, but we got a lot of appointments scheduled. At one point, we decided to just take a break and plan a bit. After about 10 minutes, Gil came over and we got a soda to share. He’s so cute and told us we need to keep in touch with him and call him when we get home. He’s cute—like a grandpa! Then we went to Ventura Mall with the Guiterrez family! We got fro-yo and . . . wait for it . . . KFC! It tasted like America. It was the best!

The Elders called. I’m changing areas tomorrow to the Jardin ward in the Bajio Stake. My new companion will be Hermana Rivera. I’m sad and shocked, but hopefully my Spanish will improve. Hermana Diaz is going to Cobija (the jungle). I’m jealous!

Well, I’m in my new area with my new companion. It’s a huge area and it’s far from civilization. It’s still technically in the city, but far out. On the bright side, Elder Spitale (my first zone leader) and Elder Tyson (from my group) are here with me! It seems like a good ward. We visited a few people, but I don’t remember all of their names yet. We did set a baptism date for next Saturday, so we will prepare them well for that. 

My companion is from La Paz, Bolivia, and was in Cochabamba waiting for her Visa, then went to Venezuela for a few weeks, then came here. I’m excited to get working here. The ward is great and my companion is really sweet. We live with members and the other two Hermanas in the ward—Hermana TJ (I can’t spell her name) and Hermana Maxamillano. I saw Hermana Quezada at the mutualista today! I screamed!

Today was really great! I still don’t know the area or the people very well, but it’s all coming along. I got to know Hermana Rivera a little better and that was really great. She’s a convert of 2 years, is 22 years old, and wants to be a chef. It was good just getting to know her.

We taught A. today. He’s always had a problem committing to a date, but we asked him today and he’s going to be baptized on May 3rd with his son. We also found a reference today that just moved here. She’s from Sucre (close to Cocha) and is 17 years old. She said she was about to be baptized, but her parents wouldn’t let her. She turns 18 in November, so we’ll just have to keep teaching her until she can be baptized. Who knows, maybe I’ll still be here . . . 

This morning we pre-interviewed A. and his son for their baptism next Saturday. They are super excited and they both passed the “test.” Even though I don’t know them very well and I just met them, I already care so much about them. It still amazes me how much of God’s love I can feel for the people in just one lesson. I’m so happy for them and their decision.

We visited a super funny kid today. He goes to a Catholic school and attends church there. He’s only 13 years old and it’s amazing what he remembers about the Bible. We talked a bit about the Ten Commandments and he began reciting them to us. He was right on track and then caught us off guard when he said that we “need to keep the ‘parties’ holy”—not the Sabbath Day. We laughed and he said that’s what they teach in his school. Ugh!

First Sunday in Jardin
It was a good day. They asked me to play the piano last minute and of course it sounded awful. Oh well. I’ve been feeling so sick lately (just a bad cold) that I had to literally keep my eyes open with my fingers. 

Lunch with V. Family
We went over to the V’s and stayed ’til late. We made lunch, but I felt so sick that I fell asleep for a few hours, then we made rice bread and tea and stayed a bit longer watching church videos. They are a super cool family. They’ve been baptized for only 8 months and are really great members. Hermano R. is our ward mission leader and he’s awesome. We had a good time with them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bolivia, Equipetrol—Week 6

Dearest Fam and Friends,

Feliz Pascua! I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter! As like every other holiday, it didn’t feel much like Easter here except when we went to church. But even then, they didn’t really talk about Easter. All is well, though. I found an old April Liahona in English and I got to read it for my study all week.

I love you all so much and hope all is well!

xoxo Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
Hermana Diaz and I had a fantastical day today! I can’t remember who we taught, but it was such a great day. We spent it in her area and the people and lessons were so great. I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to teach like this with so much power and the Spirit. It’s been hard this transfer with so many sicknesses and things going on that I haven’t been able to work sufficiently for weeks, but today I got that fire back. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose and why I’m here. I’m not here for my family or friends, or even for myself. I know I’m going to be changed for the better, but overall, I know I’m here for the Bolivians that need this Gospel in their lives. I’m serving my Father in Heaven and I’m so excited for this opportunity. “I’m on the Lord’s time now, and I will not waste it!” (Adam Hall)

Cow Stomach?!
Today at lunch we ate cow stomach, which I couldn’t “stomach” (haha) and thank heavens the sweet lady left the room so I could spit it in my napkin and throw it away. I felt bad, but really, it’s the grossest thing ever. We love her, though, and appreciate her thoughtfulness. Her son is so adorable! He’s 2 years old and he’s very smart. He learned to say “Hermana” and he’s always saying our “names” and wanting us to play with him. What a cutie!

Later we visited one of our investigators to find out if she really wants to come back to church or not. She’s not progressing at all and today she didn’t listen to a word we said. We are going to try to teach her one more time, but if she doesn’t care to hear the Gospel, we’ll have to just stop teaching her. It makes me so sad because she has so many trials and really needs the Gospel. Hopefully she can find it again in the future.

Good Friday
We had interviews with President Zambrano this morning and it was really good. He wanted to know how we’re all doing. He is great and always has a word of encouragement for all of us. We had delicious fish for lunch. I miss fish so much! We tried to visit people, but no one was home because everyone was gone for Good Friday visiting churches and family.

I studied about Christ and His Atonement this morning and was thinking a lot about it today. I’m so grateful for His example and ministry and that I have the opportunity to repent and become a better person. I love the Gospel!

It was a good day. We taught M. and he promised to come to church and said he’d read the Book of Mormon. I hope he does. He’s a good kid, but just hasn’t been to church in a while and has lost the vision of going on a mission. Hopefully we can help him out.

Then it began raining—a lot! There was so much that almost all of the streets flooded and, better yet, I tripped and fell on my knee that I fell on playing basketball on Monday. ’Twas fantastic—I had dirt and blood on my skirt all day. Then we made a chocolate cake for Hermana Navarro’s birthday tomorrow.

Easter Sunday
We made pancakes this morning for Easter and Hermana Navarro’s birthday. Thanks to Mom, I made real cute Easter bunnies and eggs out of the pancakes. She taught me well.

We went to church and it was nice. We also visited a few members and less active members and taught lessons about Easter. 

We had a yummy lunch with the V. family—Mashed potatoes, meat, and beets! (yep, Mom, I love beets now). Afterwards, we had a birthday surprise. We gave Hermana Navarro her chocolate cake. Everyone loved it (thanks, Mom)! (Isn’t it nice when they remember something we’ve taught them?)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bolivia, Equipetrol—Week 5

Dear Family and Friends,

So first of all, a HUGE sorry for last week. I was going to write about April Fool’s Day as though it actually happened, then write a p.s. at the end letting you know it was all a joke, but I forgot until after I’d logged off! It was a joke that Hermana Hussey and I played on the other Hermanas. No, we didn’t get robbed! I would appreciate some extra money, though . . . hehe! (of course we asked her how much money she needed to replace what was stolen). I’m so, so sorry! I really didn’t mean to worry you! When we got home, I remembered that I forgot to tell you it was a joke and I was worried all week about what you would do, but all is well! (I told her she was in BIG trouble for worrying everyone, but it was almost worth it to hear that she worried all week as well—April Fool’s backfire!)
It’s been a rough few weeks with me or my companion getting sick, but we are doing better. The week wasn’t too eventful. We did a lot of service because there aren’t too many people to teach right now, but it was fun. We had an Hermana Activity and I taught them how to make cinnamon rolls (see journal).
I hope you all have a great week!
Love you all!
xoxo Hermana Nelson
Journal Pages
Mario was set apart tonight and it was a very emotional time. Here, pretty much the whole ward comes to hear a new missionary bear their testimony, listen to a talk from the Stake President, then the missionary is set apart in front of everyone. Different, but cool. They are a really sweet family and it will be different without their son.

They couldn’t find anything wrong with Hermana Hussey, so we won’t be going back to the hospital unless things get worse.
We stopped by tonight to see how Hermana Leyla and her family are doing since Mario left. She gave us some ginger root and cloves to help our stomachs and we chatted for a bit. She’s really great and reminds me of Mom and my aunts. She always wants to cook for everyone, help everyone, and is truly like a mom to us. She calls us her “hijas” (daughters) and she’s just awesome. Their son wrote from the MTC today. It was sweet to see their happiness and feel the Spirit there as well.
We did service today at the Vera’s home because my companion couldn’t walk too much.

Hermana Activity
I taught the Hermanas how to make cinnamon rolls. They were probably the best ones I’ve made so far on my mission. Quite delicious! We watched the General Women’s Meeting that we missed (it was on too late when it originally aired). We also had a talent show, but I just copped out and used the cinnamon rolls as my talent. We then had lunch at Casa del Camba. It’s a super pretty restaurant that is out of the city a little bit, right by the river, and serves all of the traditional foods of Santa Cruz. Afterwards, we went to Leslie’s and washed her clothes by hand. It was a super fun day.

Casa del Camba
We attended a baptism for the other Hermanas. It was fabulous! We walked a lot and tried to find people to teach, but it was a Saturday night, so we had no luck . . . so we visited the Bishop and his wife. They are awesome! We talked about the people we are visiting. He knows so much. We talked a lot about the needs of the ward and such. They told us their conversion story, how he became the Ward Mission Leader (his first calling), then 6 months later, Bishop! He’s been the Bishop ever since. Wow!

I’ve Felt Better
Sometimes health gets the best of us . . . not sure if I got a bug or what, but my stomach had the worst sharp pains I’ve ever felt, so we stayed home from church today. The ward brought us the Sacrament and we watched a lot of Church History movies. I love learning about the prophets, apostles, and the pioneers. It was a good day of spiritual uplift!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bolivia, Equipetrol—Week 4

Family and Friends,

I’m bummed because we are in a new internet place today and it’s even slower, so I can’t send any pictures or journal pages. In the short time I have, I'll quickly give a sum of the week:

Monday (P-Day): We got some super sweet "recuerdos" (I looked it up—it means memories or mementos) in a Bolivian shop. Then we went to a restaurant and I had a fantastic BBQ bacon burger with some real good Jack Daniels BBQ sauce. Good times. Then we had FHE and ate root beer floats!

Tuesday: We got robbed. We went home early and the door was wide open. We've always been nervous because the other people who live behind us can get in the front door. All our things were missing (electronics, money, cameras, souveniers, etc.). It was a mess. I’ll send pictures next week. It was a rough night.

Wednesday: We went over to the Vera´s house to make and eat lunch and then we made cinnamon rolls! It was a good time. Their son, M. is leaving on his mission tomorrow, so it was fun to give him some good advice and all.

Friday: We finally found an investigator in the area that the other Hermanas were teaching. She’s great and remembered everything the previous missionaries taught her, but is having a hard time getting to church. It’s rough. She did promise us that she would come to Conference, but she didn’t make it.

We went house shopping toward the end of the night and it was funny. We were in a really rich area and found a house that looked pretty and somewhat small. We were writing down the number to call, when a lady came out and asked if we wanted to look at it. We went inside and she explained to us that it used to be an antique hotel. There are 8 rooms, 9 bathrooms, a kitchen with an oven, a washer and dryer, a huge dining room, office, and best of all, a pool! (haha) She really thought we were interested—probably because they think all Americans are rich. It was way too expensive, so we just left and told her we would think about it. (hehe)

Saturday and Sunday: Conference was the best! We watched it all in English! We didn’t have any investigators there, but really don’t have any investigators yet. One thing that really stuck out to me was that we need to build our foundations on Christ and his teachings and do what he taught us to do. There were also quite a few talks about love and how we need to love others, so spread the LOVE!
Hermana Hussey is doing better. I didn’t get what she had, but I did have something weird last night. I think it may have been the stomach flu. Hermana Diaz had it too, so it might have been because we shared a pasta on Saturday. Not sure.

I didn’t even know that Chile had earthquakes. Nope, we didn’t feel anything, but the weather will probably get worse because of it.

I love you all and hope you are all doing well wherever you are in the world!
Hermana Nelson