Monday, May 26, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 5

Dear Family and Friends,

So, I'm not sure that any of my pictures will come through. The internet is awful in this area, so here's a sum of my week:

Activity with the zone and another zone (Los Chacos) as well. The Elders just wanted to play football (soccer) so we decided to leave. My comp wanted to do splits, so Hermana Tijerino and I went to the center to buy clothes and we had a great time. We also got lost and had an hour taxi ride home (of shame). On the bright side, the guy only charged us 15 bolivianos—score!

Interviews with President. He said my Spanish is ‘magnificent’ and that I’m a great missionary. He asked me if I would like to go out of the city, to which I said, “Yes, of course!” He said it may not be this transfer—I guess we will see on Thursday.

District meeting. It was good.

Freezing cold. I’m so glad we bought alpaca sweaters on Monday!

Zone meeting. It was inspiring. We also attended a baptism for the other Hermanas. We made coffee cake.

“R” (one of our less actives) came to church for all three hours! It was a miracle. She said she will never miss a day of church again. Hallelujah!

The price for letters went up. I’m sad, but yeah, what can ya’ do? I probably won’t be able to send actual letters anymore, so I’ll have to email them. I know it’s not the same, but the price for letters is like $3 now, which is so much in bolivianos. Tell everyone I’m sorry I can’t send letters for their birthdays, but emails will have to do.

Love you all!

xoxo Hna Nelson

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 4

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, there goes another week. It’s crazy. I feel like I was here writing just yesterday—the days and weeks pass by so fast. This week was good. We have a possible baptism set for the 6th of June for a girl that is really excited to be baptized. She’s been coming to church for over 3 years and the whole ward thought she was a member! So, we are preparing her for June 6th.
Also, we are trying to get this ward in shape. It’s hard as a missionary to feel all the stress of the ward and feel like the success of the ward depends on you, but I’m hanging in there. We are doing a lot of activities to get the less-actives active again and things so the ward members will come with us to our appointments.
Hey, do the poor missionaries in your wards a favor—if they ask you to help them out, DO IT! I promise you will receive enormous blessings and the missionaries will be forever grateful for your service. ;) Well, that’s about it. Keep me in your prayers so I can stay sane (haha)!
Love you all!
xoxo Hermana Nelson
Journal Pages
A Pretty Good Day
We walked a lot, but at least almost everyone was home. “B” is doing well, but is still not wanting to come to church. At least she lets us in to read the Book of Mormon.We are trying to find a job for “G.” She said she really wants to have Sundays off and that she wants to be baptized. We talked to Hermana “V” and she said they may hire her to clean the house. Hopefully she’ll like the idea.
9 Months
We had a lesson with a new convert who is awesome. He is 17 years old and he wants to serve a mission. He’ll finish his second year of being a member in September. He’s a cool kid—he’s the only member in his family and he’s never missed a day of church. Pretty awesome.
We made key lime pie with a family in the Ward and it was fun. Hermana “V.” came too and we chatted and ate, then headed to the church for an activity. We are crocheting shoes as a Relief Society and I’m just barely learning. Mine are going to be blue.
District Meeting
Today, Elder Spitale (ZL) gave the lesson and it was really great. He got it from a talk, “The Consecrated Missionary”, but I don’t remember who wrote it. We talked about the things we need to ‘sacrifice’ as missionaries so we can give it all we’ve got. He got us really excited to get to work and to work hard. It’s hard sometimes to stay focused, remain obedient, and keep a positive attitude—especially when things don’t go the way you want them to go. But, from here on out, I am going to put all my heart and soul into this work. I only have 9 months left to make a difference here, so I’m starting today. We set a baptism date with “L” for June 14! She’s committed to it!
Popcorn Brings Miracles!
This morning we had an idea to make lots of popcorn and take it around to the members to get them excited about being more willing to help us out. It worked really well. We walked around from member to member (and some investigators) and sang a hymn, then gave them a bag of popcorn and a little note with a quote. Lots of them were so excited and happy. One investigator even said she is going to come to church on Sunday. Yay for popcorn!
We received a reference from a member we met today. She’s dating an RM and has been coming to church for 3 years. She doesn’t live in our area, but we helped her set a baptismal date for June 6th. Hopefully we can keep working with her.
We had a bunch of open time, so we went contacting. We found one woman who doesn’t go to any church and has 2 kids. We taught her part of The Restoration, but we couldn’t finish because her baby was crying. We invited her to church and she accepted. We are going to pick them up on our way.

Relief Society Activity
We made chocolate cake balls tonight for the activity and I think this is the last time I’m going to be teaching Relief Society. It’s stressful. The Hermanas in the ward are always trying to tell me that I’m doing everything wrong and on top of it, they make fun of my Spanish. But, all is well. I need to have more patience with them. It was good try to get the Hermanas to be more united. Now we will continue the class but they can teach the way they want to.

It's been a good week, though and my companion and I are getting along better. She's a bit trunky (she only has until August in the mission), but we're getting through it. The mission really increases your knowledge and perspective on things. I love it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 3

Feliz dia Mama!
Dearest Family and Friends,
First off, “Happy Mothers Day” to all my “moms.” Each and everyone reading this have been grand influences in my life. I know without a shadow of a doubt that you are all a small part of the person I am today and are a part of the reason I’m in Bolivia serving the Lord. Thanks to all of my Primary, Sunday School, Young Women’s, and Relief Society teachers, best friends’ moms, and everyone else who have made a difference in my life. I won’t name names because I can hardly remember English, and I know that I will forget at least one. But truly, you are all great influences in my life!
And to my wonderful mother, you are the best. I love you so much and I’m so grateful for the great influence you have been in my life. My talents, my knowledge, and my testimony have been greatly influenced by you and your role as a wife and mother. Thanks, Mom. I love you!

I forgot my camera cord, but in short, this week was good. We mostly did a lot of walking and had a bunch of people who didn’t want to open their doors, but that’s normal.

We did have the baptism for “A” and it was really great. His son wasn’t able to get baptized because his mom didn’t give him permission, but he'll keep coming to church and eventually get baptized.

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, so here goes:

You Know You Are in Bolivia When . . .
—all the holidays are different because they want to be different from everyone else
—you knock the door of a drunk man and you have to ask him very politely to put some clothes on
—the lady that cooks for you puts a chicken foot in your soup—yum!
—you have to wash your shoes every day because of all the dirt and mud
—you find a grasshopper as big as your hand
That’s all for this week. I love you all so much.
Hermana Nelson

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 2

Dearest Family and Friends,
Note: We asked Amanda a few questions and these are just her quick answers. The internet doesn’t seem to be as reliable in her new area, so we aren’t getting as much news or many photos. Hopefully we’ll find out more about how things are going on Sunday. We’re grateful she’s been able to send her journal pages or we wouldn’t know anything!

We weren’t able to have the baptism this week. I will put up my journal about that. We do have quite a few people to teach. More than anything are less actives, but we are helping them all along.
I am teaching the Relief Society on Tuesday to make pies. We’ll have to see how it all turns out. 
I am feeling fine. My cold went away.

I will be calling for 5 minutes on Saturday to set up a time and everything for our call. We are trying to find a member with Skype. We will be asking lots today.
I got Alyssa and Devan’s postcard from Moab in the mail. It made my day!

I love you all tons.
xoxo Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
We played volleyball with the Elders. It was embarrassing as usual, but fun. Afterwards, we went to the Valencia family’s home and ate a really great lunch, made treats, slept in their hammock, and had FHE with their family. We also watched an old video with the Antelo family.

We taught B. who is a less-active member. This is the second visit that I’ve been with her and it was really great. She’s been inactive for a while now, but we read and taught Alma 32 about faith, humility, and testimony. She was having a hard time commenting, but I know she could feel the Spirit. She doesn’t want to come to church and we aren’t really sure why. Hopefully we can figure it out and find a way to help her. We are going to make apple pie with her next week, so that should be great fun.
Then we visited G. She’s only 17 years old and is from Sucre (by Cocha). She was meeting with the Elders there, but then moved here and didn’t have the chance to be baptized. Last time we invited her to be baptized, she said her parents wouldn’t give her permission. Today, we talked about the Plan of Salvation and what we need to do in this life to live with Christ and Heavenly Father again. We talked about the importance of baptism and committed her to pray and asks her parents one more time. She said she would and we set a date for May 30th. 

We visited with a member that is having problems in her marriage. She’s really sweet and told us that she’s only been married for a few months, but she has a lot of problems with her husband. We taught her the importance of women and how it is her responsibility to sustain her husband as the head of the house. It was a really great lesson, but ended badly when he walked in and practically asked us why we were there and to leave. He was very rude. I hope I don’t have problems like that with my husband. It was awful the way he talked to her and us and we (my companion and I) couldn’t stop talking about it. I will most definitely be marrying someone who is kind and doesn’t care if I talk to others, including my family.

Then we went to visit with V. again. She’s very inactive, but is a really sweet lady. We talked to her and I hope she got the message we were trying to convey. She yells and hits her kids a lot. She’s also doing a lot of things she shouldn’t be doing. We talked about her example and how every choice she makes affects her kids in some way. She told us a really sad story about growing up and she began to cry. We shared a few scriptures with her about being an example and she said she’ll start to be better. I really hope she does for her kids’ sake. 

Well, it rained today . . . and that’s about it. We did find a few people, but no one wanted to talk to us seeing it was Labor Day. Everyone was just lazy and slept in pretty much the whole day. We did have some good food, though. For lunch, our pensionista made us BBQ—and a lot of it! Then we went to visit some less-actives and they gave us more BBQ, then we visited the Valencias and they made us a big dinner as well. We were all happy today. We stayed and watched church movies until it was time to go home. It was a chill Labor Day.
Baptism Tomorrow?
We’ll have to see if there will be a baptism tomorrow. We couldn’t get a hold of Hermano A. or I. again. It’s been all week with no answer and when we got to their house, they are always busy. Something happened to another one of A.’s sons and he’s going through trials and such today. We are really worried, but hopefully they will be home tomorrow so we can visit them and maybe have the baptism. I’m praying all will be okay.
No Baptism
A. was occupied with a lot and called today to ask if we could postpone the baptism until next Saturday. So, next Saturday it is. We stopped by his house to see how he’s doing and all is well. He and his son are still good with their decision to be baptized. (Randy was happy to read the “occupied with a lot” in her letter because he said she’s trying to find the English way to say things that are common in Spanish).

We saw a super clear double rainbow today. It was beautiful!
Relief Society
I am going to teach a few classes of desserts and then in a few weeks, we are going to have a dessert competition. The sisters are all really excited, so hopefully it will be fun.