Monday, December 29, 2014

A Ward Feud

Well sounds like a regular good time at home jiggin' around. I had a good time too. I eat lots of food (see the attached picture). Speaking of food the two foods that I really like here are salteƱas and pica machu.
To answer some questions
How many investigators do we have?
I think there is about 15-20. And then about 10-15 less actives and recent converts and then there are old investigators which are the people who do not progress. I counted all the people in our binder and I think there is about 60. 
That package? 
It doesn´t really matter how as long as it gets here. Some other things you can throw in if you have not sent it already:a multi-color pen, the my family pamphlet completed in spanish, instructions on how to use family search to find your ancestors and send to them to the temple,
What happened this week?
Our ward mission leader (Brother Peredo) has a lot and there is some dispute about who is real owner. Anywhere the other supposed owner showed up and Brother Peredo didn´t want them to pass and so the other guy called the police saying that Brother Peredo tried to kill him with a machete. So the police showed up and took him to jail along with Israel (super enthusiastic teacher ) and Richard (the second counselor in the Bishopric) who were in the house. Then the Rodriguez family (5 more men) go the jail to defend them so now there are 8 members in our area that are in jail . I think there court appearance is today so hopefully they get out. It reminds me a lot like that episode of Beverly Hillbillies where they start a feud.

Something else funny. We asked one of are investigators we he didn't go to church and he said because of the rain. Uh..hermano, it didn't rain on sunday. Oh that's right , it didn't, I don't remember why. Then this week we asked him again and he said it was because he didn't have any clothes. Oh man.. the things they come up with these days.








Monday, December 22, 2014

Wheelbarrow and Bolivian Culture

First of all, I will be calling home today on the phone to confirm the plans for Thursday so don't leave the house because I will be calling soon.

Sounds like Natalie had been having a fun time. Having your temple bag stolen and then have Grandma Miller to plan your social dates. And it was your birthday what more could you ask for.
Can't believe there is not any snow yet. But 40 degrees, whew, that is really cold. Here we never drop below 65. Today is a cold day because it has been raining. Raining so hard in fact that it was hard to leave the house because the yard has been filled up with water. Then on the bus the water started coming up through the floor and I got sprayed. But it is a good thing we are not in the rainy season. In the rainy season the water comes up to knees.

What happened to me this week-it was quite regular. We macheted somebody's yard and sholved a mountain of dirt. I actually fell over trying to haul the wheelbarrow over a bump. I was pulling backwards to pass the bump and I pulled soo hard that I fell flat on my back. The investigators are doing well. They are always so funny. We were teaching a family and the daughter is a member about the age of Natalie but the rest are not. So whenever we would ask a question to the family she would always chime in and give the answer and even when we asked them to be baptized she was like Yes, yes I will. Then we had to remind her that she was already baptized.
One thing that I have learned about Bolivians is that they just do whatever and just go with it. Nothing really phases them. If they have an church activity they show up at the planned starting time and decide what to do then start an hour and a half late. If someone where to come and graffiti their house they would just look at it and say oh well I guess it is just my lot in life. That is why I think it is so funny to hear Natalie calling the police over such things. What would Bolivians do. Nothing and go take a nap. Oh how the Bolivians love to sleep. The whole country goes asleep for an hour after lunch. We ask people what they are going to do for Christmas and they usually say I don't know sleep and eat. The Latinos are just more matter of fact too. There is no offense taken if you call someone fat or describe to someone "so-and so is the fatty with glasses". It is kind of funny.
Anyway prepare the internet for Thursday and have a Jolly good time. I will be getting in touch today.

Elder Gilbert

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hair Loss Remedies

Ahhh.. Stephanie´s hair is falling out. What would the Bolivians do? Well probably one of the 3 following things: 1. Nothing and accept the reality of your life 2. Don't go to the doctor because they is too much money 3. Drink some Chicho it is a drink that tastes like dirt, looks like dirt, and feels like dirt when you drink it.

I have not yet received the pillowcase with letters in it yet. And yes things do get taken out of packages (they also took the deodorant, but I can buy some (they keep it looked up behind the desk at the store) ) . Candy will usually always makes it, just put it in something that does not melt because chocolate here melts at room temperature. I don't know but I guess this is a test to see if your smarter than a Bolivian.

Yes I get to talk on Christmas day hopefully through skype. Not sure exactly how but I will let you know.
Ahh and it even sounds like my ward has surpassed the tenth ward in Sacerdocio (Priesthood). Pucha (heck) I think all the priesthood quaroms are bigger here. (diacono, maestros, presbiteros, elderes, y sumo sacerdotes) There is your spanish lesson tambien. But our area is about the size of a stake and there are three areas of elders in our ward. If you want to know where my area is it is where the eigth ring meets with the cumavi and tres pasos al frente. That box is my area and the fourth side we do not really know where it is--it is out to the boondocks.

Investigators: The Parada family accepted a marriage date-so we will see how that goes. They are a funny people. Leonida, the wife is really fat like a polynesian and has this blouse that the buttons look like their about ready to burst, and in fact one of them did and so she ways puts her hands over it to cover it up, kind of funny. I am currently writing a letter for you guys to let you know all about the details.
Anyway I think that my time is almost up.

¡Que le vaya bien!
Elder Gilbert

This week I also dug a crap hole. Put that on my resume. It was 6 by 4 and 5 feet deep.

Happy Birthday to Natalie! I have been to a couple birthday celebrations here, the Bolivians do it in this manner: everyone stands, sings in english, claps and sings in spanish and then sit down.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Serpiente!

What! No snow ! What is this Bolivia--where it like 95 degrees. 

1. Yes, I have been the one taking out the 75 dollars, I use it buy stuff, like a music player and such. 

2. The Christmas package got here, the only thing that wasn't in there but said it was was the music and deodorant. 

3. More to send. music on a flash with the song of color of the wind but in piano, i cant remember who is the artist but it cames on pandora. THe pual cardell piano hymns, and all the other songs. and those binder punch hole reinforcers. and some cinnamon, they dont sell it here.

This week was great. We did a service macheting someones lawn and I found a snake so I screamed snake but none off the latinos knew what that was so I screamed serpeinte and my companion came over and chomped it in half. That the end of that sucker. And naturally the recpients of the service had lunch ready to pull magically out of their back pocket so we had that lunch and another at another house.

Chunllo- it is a potato that they throw in the river for a few days and let freeze and it turns black. Then they take it out and break it apart by stepping on it with their feet and then cook it and serve it as food. And everyone in BOlivia loves it. It things like these that I just put in my mouth and swallow it with the beverage like a pill.


I don't have much time this week to write, tal vez I will send you letter. The post office is in the Santa Cruz north mission so we have to wait for the next week to ask president to leave to the mission to mail letters. Basically the north mission has all the cool stuff like the zoo, rich people and houses, water parks, and   cool animals. OUr mission has the distribution center and botony observatory. 

Elder Gilbert

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Karen--Want a Machete?

Happy birthday to mother, good´ol Karen. But don't worry about getting old, hermano Bismark (lives in the ward, executive secretary, he is like 29 or 30) says that you guys are young. His parents are like 70 or 80 and he has like 11 siblings.
i give up with the shift key. it is missing --too hard to type fast.

it was a regular week as usual.

thanksgiving: people don't like turkey here. it is too dry they say. so you cant really buy it anywhere.
christmas. yes i get to call home and we are looking for a member with a computer to skype with. there are about 2 members in all the ward that actually have a computer.
he is the gift. it is a big initiative by the church i am sure you guys have seen it but it is here too and we have these cards to give out and ask people if they have seen it before and how (to see which is the most effective campaigning tool)

Photos. this week i learned the art of machete. how to cut your lawn with a machete. it is really the only way to do it since nobody has lawnmowers or lawns for that matter. it is just whatever grows in your yard. but you have to watch out for the ants because they will bite ya alright (photo of my ankle it from the ants)
I also still need a photo of the house with lots of snow and the christmas tree also. people are perishing in unbelief about how christmas really should be. here it is hot and sunny and they call it christmas.
some others things that i could use: index cards, family home evenings ideas (can send to me through email) and games to play. there are lots of people who don't go to church because they don't know anyone so we have multi family home evenings and need good games to help people to know each other without conspicuously being a get to know you game.


 i was also in a theatrical production this past week. the ward had an activity where the organizations acted out a scripture. the missionaries got alma the younger conversion and somehow i got cast as alma the younger . turned out ok but very awkward
elder gilbert (people say either heel-bert or jill-bert)


Ant bites

Monday, November 24, 2014

Exotic Bugs

Sounds like the house is falling apart and the horses are as devious as ever. Let me say that I did warn you about them. And Natalie somehow pulled off a feat of idiotas en accion. I too sometimes found myself in this category. Like the other day when we were getting off the bus and the driver shut the door on me and started to drive away  (with me in the doorway) and I had to jump out to pull out my bag. I am sure all the people on the bus were laughing.
I have not yet received the Christmas package. There is no such thing as thanksgiving here. Right now the kids are getting out for summer. Its weird to have 2 summers in a row. But the next holiday here is of course Navidad and New Years and then festival in march when the whole city closes down for a week to celebrate something. 

The celebration of the church was very bonita we marched on the stage sang left and got back in the taxi and left. It started an hour late. At 7 they were still adjusting the lights and turning on the video wall. I don't think there was a general authority there. 

The funnies of this week:
We visited a member this week who was talking about the celebration and how the 7th day Church of the 12 apostles now has 50 years in Bolivia. And we asked her what church is that? Ans she said well isnt that what we are called. Uhh no. It is the Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de Los Ultimos dias. Then in the lesson she was able to give a 20 minute Leila Grover style testimony on paying tithing.
Another Menos Activo. (who is a bit taller)
Do you remember when you were baptized?
Yeah, I was baptized twice?
Oh, why were you baptized twice?
Well once while I was living in the Villa and then I moved here someone asked me If i would baptized and I said ¨Claro (obviously yes)¨  but they put me in that small pool and when they baptized me they bonked my head on the wall.
Well no wonder why your inactive. Still have not figured out why he was baptized twice.
I have also hired someone to wash my clothes and that makes things a lot nicer.

Here are some photos of exotic bugs, I thought Natalie might like to make a poster or calender of all the bugs. The one with wings which my companion caught is a Chucharra and it lives in the ground for 14 years then pops out and flys around making really loud noises. All found within the convenience of our house.









Monday, November 17, 2014

Real Hard Life

Well it has been a fun week at the house sounds like. Sometimes it is hard for people to comprehend what it is like in Utah. People here are shocked that there are wards in Utah of just single adults.  

This week has been pretty regular. Teaching lessons, planning peoples marriages (the only people here married are super Catholics or Mormons), talking to all the people, eating rice for lunch (want some mayonnaise with that? that is really what people put on their rice, it helps it go down easier), and fighting the war against the bugs. 

The fun things you found out when doing family history: So we were teaching a less active family about family history and how you can look for your ancestors names on family search when the dad says. ¨´Well, my real name is not Zamora. So I don't think it will work¨. Oh! what is your real name? ¨It is Gonzales.¨ Why did you change your name? ¨Because it was easier to get into Bolivia with Zamora. Oh okay. 

The  next day: we find him drunk in the road and he spills the whole story. He grew up in the bad part of Peru where he learned some bad habits. He apparently robbed a bank and that is why he is an illegal immigrant here in Bolivia. So we took him home and later we talked to his wife she said that he had broke someone´s arm and robbed their motorbike today. Oh, well that certainly does complicate things.

It is things like these that make me think how pampered everyone is the United States. I feel like Spencer and Taylor got jipped in experiences of real hard life. Everyday I witness the circle of life (chicken legs in the road) Here there are no water heaters, nor washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, supermarkets,  air conditioners, nor cars with seat belts for that matter. I also learned about the crap holes. Where I live there is no sewage, so everyone digs a really big hole in their yard and covers it up and that is where the toilet water goes. Water from the sink usually goes out into the street so you have to watch your step. 

And one more thing. I need lots of ideas for Family Home Evenings (like activities or lessons that keeps that whole family occupied) because we do a lot of them. I also need a picture of our house in the winter. Many people here have troubles comprehending a house made from wood and how it looks . when it snows. 

This week is the celebration of 50 years of the church in Bolivia and there is going to be a big celebration this Thursday in the stadium and the all us missionaries in Santa Cruz are going to sing and also there will be traditional dances of Bolivia and they say a general authority will come. 

Photos of the ostrich thing I found, Elder Caal, and picture next a soccer statue (just to join in on the soccer worship here)

Chao Chao for now

Elder Gilbert

Oh and yes  I get the dear elder things Natalie.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Fear of Bugs and Bolivian Favorites

I just got a package today, it had Starbursts and letters and photos in it. I do not know how many packages you are guys are sending, but it sounds like the first of many and now you know that it works. 

First, yes we had a baptism and it was quite lovely apart from the spiders and the cockroaches. When we went to clean the baptismal font there was a spider slightly smaller than the palm and it was fast and kind of a blue color and it could jump. So that was slightly unsettling but the worst part were the cockroaches. In order to plug the drain you have to go outside and turn the handle which is kind of in something similar to a sprinkler box. When we opened it there were about 50 cockroaches the size of dads thumb and they went crazy. One almost went up my companion's leg. So of course I enlisted the help of the elder from Guatemala (the one who took care of the frog) to put his hand in there and turn the handle. He informed me that we don't need to have fear of the cholupes because they can't bite. We only need to worry about the scorpions, tarantulas (which are easily found in the bushes and as big as your palm), and snakes. So that was good news and even more comforting to know was that my companion once upon a time found a tarantula in his bed. For this, I also check the bed and under the bed and in the bed and on the ceiling for such things. But I do take comfort that the Latinos do not have such fear of bugs. In fact my companion was telling me about the time that he had a gringo companion that found a rat in the bathroom and came out screaming and my companion just steps on it and kills it (even all the guts came out). This story reminded my of the video Stephanie showed me of that lady killing the rat. But on with the baptism, it was great. It started an hour late waiting for everyone to show up. That is just how things roll here. Meeting always start at least 30 minutes late.

One problem for Bolivians is the rain because when it rains there is a bunch of mud
because the roads area all dirt sand. SO sometimes it makes it hard to walk anywhere. So hashtag thirdworldproblems.

My favorite things about Bolivia. 

1. The liberty. If you want to build a house go ahead and do it. If you want to not obey the traffic laws , go ahead and do it (they are really only suggestions). If you want to burn your garbage or dig a ditch in the middle of the road and are free to do so.

2. Everything is super cheap. Last week I bought 7 liters of Tampico for 1.50 dollars. Garments are 1.50 and everything is soo cheap! 

3.Bolivians are funny. Yesterday we had a 4 hour ward leader training meeting  with the all leaders (bishopric RS, all of them) about how we need to do this and that but then right after the meeting they go and buy 20 chicken meals (kinda like Maddox) and 6 2 liters of coke for refreshments. The refreshments so that important they break the Sabbath for it. 

If you think that Utah is kid capital think again look at the photo of the baptism with the family. IN every meeting there are kids running around wild. 

Thing you can do. All the Latinos want english hymnals, If you can, send the small english hymnal for my companion. I would also like the music of Paul Cardell the music piano hymns and that come on Pandora. You can also complete the My Family booklet of family history in spanish by putting in the photos,and translate the histories of the ancestors into spanish and fill out the booklet and send it to me.

Chao Chao

Elder Gilbert
View from house

Here are photos from Elder Caals birthday party.
The hermana made some of the best apple pie I have ever tasted.






Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween and Day of the Dead

Querido Familia

Do people celebrate Haloween here. No, not really. They know about it but dont really do anything about it. More important is the Days of the Dead following. Now this, everyone celebrates. Saturday was day of dead for children, sunday for the adults, and today is a holiday just to finish it all off. Basically what happens is everyone goes to the cemetery (which are quite creepy looking) and do their ritual or whatever. Some people even sleep there over night. We didnt change time here in Bolivia but it doesnt really matter anyway because meetings always start 30 minutes late.

Investigators. We have two bautismals lined up for this weekend. Marco Miranda and Evelin Parada. So we will see how that goes.  We found a family that are all members except for the father and basically he wants to be baptized but he has to wait for his divorcement papers to clear through.

Goofy things; I found this box to place all my books in because my desk was getting swamped. So I put it next to my desk and called it my biblioteca. Well two days later I was eating my froot loops (Yes they have these down here but I had to drop 49 bs for them which is like 7 dollars). And i opened my milk which is in a plastic bag, poured my milk and set on my desk. Then randomly 10 minutes later the bag randomly falls off the desk and into my library box. Luckily I was able to save my books but it was the end of my library becuase my companion grabbed it and throw it out the window full of milk (we live on the second floor). So that is Bolivian ingenuity en accion. My companion informed me that I talk in my sleep in spanish now. I was also sitting on the toilet when a frog almost jumped on me and it scared it me and I told my companion and he said to sweep it out and I didn't want to, but I was saved when another elder from the first floor came up for a social visit and I enlisted him to take care of the frog.

Happy Birthday to Justin boy. 

Elder Gilbert

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Changes

Buen Dia!

Yes, I got changed. I am now in Santa Cruz in the Zone La Libertad, in the Lucero Ward. My companion is called Elder Chacaliaza of Lima, Peru. He is a lot better than my other companion. Santa Cruz is a little bit different. The people talk different. For example instead of saying mas o menos they pronounce it maj o menoj (the j makes an h sound). The buses are also pretty fun.  The ceiling is about where my shoulder are so you have hunch it over and hang on to the bar because the roads are not always smooth and the driver looks to make sudden stops and gos. You have to have good balance or else you will land on some else. To top it off there is usually american music like Rasputin or Are you all ready for this to jingle and slip along to. There is a HiperMaxi (a walmart Food supermarket) here in Santa Cruz which is a big blessing because I am tired my food selection being limited to what ever people sell in their living room. 

The wildlife here is about the same just that there are cows wandering around and horses, lots of frogs, some lizards occasionaly. There are also a lot of horse drawn carraiges here too. Except the horses look like they are about to to die and and cariage is more like a hay trailer. 

The people. We have an investigator named Resendo Parada. He has a cow called Maltilda and we sometimes get to drink some milk from Maltilda. Also there is a member in the ward called Israel and he is a little crazy. He likes to acompany us in visits and he gives his own mini lesson of 10-15 minutes. He kind of reminds me those overzealous or enthusiatic men at BYU Nat. He also gave us a reference for his next door neighbor. And when we went to go contact him, his neighbor about blew up becuase of how many times the missionaries talk to him. I think Israel gives the same reference to all the missionaries. THere are lots of others but those two are the most interesting. At church there was about 210 people. I feel like I am in a battleship becuase we have a stake and in total there are 6 elders in the ward. 

Its cool to look back and see how many lessons were taught during the 6 weeks. This past transfer we had 24 lessons with investigator con un mienbro presente and 45 other lessons 18 lessons to recent converts and 51 lessons to menos activos. 

Sending some pictures. One is of my area in Bermejo  (with trees and no on in it) and pictures of my new companion and a picture of the my zone.

Well that is it for this week and I am glad to hear Scooter health is improving and so on. Hopefully that stuff makes it here. Try making saltinas this week. 

Chao,
Elder Gilbert






Zone in Bermejo

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scooter's Health Care

Hola

Sounds like Scooter has had some health issues. I am relieved to hear that his infermity has been taken care of in orderly and effecient manner. We all know that Scooter demands the best of health care insurance in accordance with The Scooter League AllIance policy manual (page 45)

I usaully email from some internet cafe. Today was a little bit tricky; we went to three different places and all their internets were not working but we finally found one. The computers are high tech too, they are usaully computers that look like they are from the 90s and have wires hanging out for the usb and such. 

As far as the music, I think that Enya and classical is okay. And of course all of the Mormon Tabernacle. Hopefully that package makes it here. Once it gets to the mission office the mission office will send it somehow or when president comes to visit again. 

We went to Santa Cruz for a conference of trainers and newbies. Basically it was a meeting of 3 hours where Hermana Willard went over health stuff and asked us we were doing and then President gave some words and it was over and we went back to Bermejo. So that was a nice little trip. 

Well I have to go now didnt get much time Adios

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jovenes Chicas

No [Natalie], I have not yet found someone that reminds me of you yet. Mainly because we are not allowed to speak to snakes (so my companion calls them, the jovenes chicas).
I still have the same companion Elder Condori. The cambio was only for one day. But the cambios (pernament) is coming up next week

Have we come across investigadores yet. Yes of course. I think we have about  10-15 active investigators. I you want to know the numbers for this week we have 4 people with baptismal date, 5 new investigators, and 24 lessons taught. The hardest thing is to get the investigators to keep commitment. It is also possible to receive packages here. Just send them to the mission office. I would like a USB drive with every church  song and tranquilo song that you have and then I can buy a music player here. 

Culture. When shaking hands you first shakes hands, then tap on the other persons left shoulder with your right hand than shake hands again. A lot of people here sell those crocks shoes (people here sell a lot of cheap stuff from China) so for service I have gotten really good at packaging shoes and sorting them. Remember the time that I fell when I was doing service hauling dirt up the hill for the Lopez Family (the Jeppsen Family). While the lady still thinks it is the funniest thing. And I trip over everything here because all the sidewalks are pieced together. There will be drop offs, piles of rock, etc etc. So my companion taught me the native language of what to say when I fall because Santiago Lopez knows the native language and would think it really cool if I said it; the words are manan ing ting en ten day ictchu kitchu.

Yesterday we do not have church because of the elections and we were not allowed to leave the house either. So we read a lot.The day mainly consisted of people driving down the street on their motos waving their propaganda and honking their horns. It was equivalent to the Peach Day parade. I also got my first haircut here. I said i wanted short regular which ended up being shave off the sides and leave the top long. So now I have a nice haircut.

Well I just received new that we are being beckoned back to Santa Cruz  which means a long car ride and then 2 hours in the plane, what joy!
Elder Gilbert

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Oh Honey, You ain't Seen Big"

Hola Familia

Sounds like you have had a lovely general conference weekend. I too had the privilege to view the conference, and in Enlgish too. The conference was fantastic--including classic Dallin Oaks talk and the thrill of listeing t other languages in voices similar to those on hunger games, they like to keep you on your toes ya know. I had to laugh when mother said you had a big meal. Oh honey, you aint seen big. Yesterday for breakfast I had 4 big pancakes, two things of smoothie juice, and pineapple and the hot milk cup. Lunch I had soup (in a very big bowl) and in soup included  a chicken wing and drumsitck followed by a plate completly filled with a noodle dish (like 5 cups of it) and then for dinner 6 pieces of pizza. Every meal I feel like I am going to barf. And then the worse is when the ask you if you want more and here is is offensive to say no, so you have to say yes and take more. And then becuase your an elder they like to give a little bit more and then at some lessons we have another full on meal.
What do people ask me the most?  First where am I from. This is just a question to confirm the obvious. Next people ask me about the weather. (by the way it is getting hot here, the other day I am pretty sure was close to like a hundred and then the people tell me that it was nothing and in the summer December it gets really hot (one member said 122 degrees Fahrenheit) and sometimes I think they are pulling my leg so be sure to research this for the next email) Then about what I eat in the United States to which I am like have you ever heard of casseroles or cusc cusc. And then sometimes they will ask about family or what I study. I also get the feeling that people here do not use canned foods that much because my Latin companion handed me a can and pizza cutter and asked me how to open it.

There are a lot of toads frog here in the night. I am afraid that I will step on one because they are hard to see. My companion said that he found one under my bed (i do not know alive or dead). We also have a lot of cockroaches and mt companion told me that in the night they were all over and in the food. So that is comforting to know so I always check my shoes before putting them on. My companion also bought raid spray to kill them but he also uses it to kill mosquitoes and so every night he fumigates the room and I am pretty sure it does not do anything. Everyone here also has a moto or moped thing. SO you will see like the whole family drive on one with baby and everything. And yesterday I saw the son driving the moped home from conference with his mother on the back sitting sideways wearing dress as if on a horse from the medieval days.  Kind of funny. I have seen one horse here. Also dogs of all varieties (one member with 5 dogs was showing me how cute her hairless dog was). 

Today we are going to play futbol as a zone activity so that will be interesting.
The mail here I am not sure how it works exactly. I will have to find out and tell you next week. The only thing they do not sell here is floss or deodorant. Most of my stuff has been holding out. One of my pant hems came undone but the RS president and lady that cooks for us fixed that up in a jiffy. Her name is Heremana Anna and she kind of reminds me of Grandma Miller. She has similar kinds dishes (the blue clear) and cooks very tradtiony. Its weird how there are Latino counterparts of people I know here. Like the family I live with, the mother reminds me a lot like Melanie Gilbert and I don't know but it is weird.

Love Elder Gilbert

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bolivian Common Sense

Well it sounds like things are already starting to change in Brigham City. I think we all knew it was only a matter of time, either all the old people would die, the city would do something idiotic, or global warming would change the weather. What Brigham City needs is some Bolivian common sense. For example if you want to run for office, just get some speakers,flags and banners to put on your car and drive around town all day playing your campaign slogan. Sounds like you have also had some fun in the rain. Me too. When the rain comes, it comes down--like a lot. 

Bermejo. People here do not believe much in garbage collection--just throw it somewhere. My companion asked person/store if they had a garbage sack and they just grabbed a little ziploc sack and then throw it out in the street. I thought it was pretty funny. Hence the streets are filled with garbage.  

People. My favorite people to visit live in blue house up on the hill (similar to a Jeppsen outfit and they are always babysitting their grandchildren and they tell me about how their parents use to cook with a clay pot and how good that tasted.)and are menos activos. They are really funny. Asked them about what happens when they commit serious sins and the guy said "Well, time to go to a different church" And then we were talking about why and how the presidente de rama has keys and he was like "Oh, how do I get a copy of those keys" Also they know some English from movies and such and so he will tell me "Please sit down elder" and then he tells his wife "Come over here baby" (and they are like 50 or 60 years old). We have also ridden in their clunker car which is just the metal frame and motor with seats in it. 


I haven't been able to take many photos here in Bermejo but here is Santa Cruz from the mission home. 

Elder Gilbert

Letter from President and Sister Willard

Dear Family,                           

We are so happy to have met your wonderful missionary! We are so honored to work with him here in the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission. It is obvious in his countenance that he has been prepared to serve the Lord at this time of the hastening of His work.

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be."(1 Nephi 13:37)

Every time we look into the face of Elder Gilbert we are reminded of the great love that God has for him and also of the great love, that you at home, have for this great missionary. We know that you pray for him every day. We also feel great love for him and pray every day for his  well-being, spiritual growth, and happiness. We know that God hears and answers these prayers.

We also know of the tender feelings that come with having a missionary out in the field. We know that your influence will continue to be a great strength to your missionary. Your favorite scriptures, spiritual experiences, and expressions of love in weekly emails and handwritten letters will help them feel confidence in their ability to do this great work.

We thank you for all you have done and all you will continue to do to bless the work of  the salvation of God's children here in Bolivia. How grateful we are to have Elder Gilbert here in the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission. We love him so much!
                                                                           With love,
                                                                           President and Sister Willard


Monday, September 22, 2014

Bermejo

Answers about Bermejo. Right now Bermejo feels like Utah in middle of the Summer and it is only spring here. It is sort of like a jungle here. There are palm trees and other exotic plants but I have not seen monkeys yet. A lot of people here have pet parrots. I am in a decent house. Compared to the united states yes it looks pretty sad  but here it is actually nice. There are a total of 16 missionaries here in Bermejo. I do not think there is such a thing as mail here you could probably send it to the mission office or something. I flew to Santa Cruz with 12 other missionaries.
Land of Coke and Coca. The only american thing here is Coke products and the people really seem to love it. So during a lot of lessons we receive a cup of coke. Also a lot of people chew coca which is tobacco. Lots of people look like they have a sucker in their mouth but it coca and it is pretty gross. The majority of people are missing teeth and teeth are decaying at rapid rates. Almost everyone has a black tooth or teeth. Also another problem we have it that some people cant read which is a problem when they need to read the Book of Mormon or the pamphlets.
Service. We helped some people to build their house which by the way is a really technical process (just clear the ground, flatten it with a cement block by repeatably hitting it against he ground then dump some rocks for the foundation and then cement in bricks). Which meant we had to haul dirt up the side of the steep hill.  They gave us a those burlap sacks and filled it with 5-6 scoops of dirt in each one and then we each hauled a sack up the hill. The first time I fell down a couple times so afterwards I was able to sneak less dirt in my bag. Yes I have done lots of stupid things here. Like asking a member to be baptized.,
Food. Did I mention that the lunches are huge. And you have to eat it all. We start off with the soup and then get a another plate. Usually a plate full of rice like (at least ) and a couple large pieces stake things. Yesterday, Sunday,  about threw up there was so much food. So for breakfast the family we live with made us breakfast. It was a bowl full of hot milk cheese, pancakes, and a fruit drink. But I don't know what any of the butters stuff and condiments are, so they keep recommending stuff to put on my food. Anyway I thought they were giving me hot chocolate mix but it was actually coffee mix (and they said it was A OK) and so I dumped  a whole thing in and then had to down a bowl full of coffee milk which did not taste good. And then the pancakes you just throw on some sweet condensed milk and roll it up and eat it like a burrito. I had to eat like 5 of them because they wanted me to try different things on each one. Next we had lunch with a member also. They gave us two things of meat, 2 potatoes, 3 hand scoops of rice, a fried banana. This was was the hardest because you eat it plain and there no taste really and the potatoes dry out your mouth fast to it hard to eat fast. Then we had dinner, another huge plate full of noodles or something. Anyway Sundays are full of eating.
My Companion. I do not know why but tomorrow we are being changed. I will have a different area in Bermejo. It not as bad as you guys worry so. Sounds like you can use some cooling of the jets too. 
Investigadors. We usually have about 4 lessons a day . And right now we have about 10 investigators and we visit a lot with inactives also. I don't know what else to say because I am not always sure what they telling me.
Misc. I saw a wedding the other day. It consisted of decorated cars and motorcycles driving down the street honking their horns with the bride and groom on separate motorcycles driving next to each other.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome to Bolivia

1. Answers.  Monday is p day. No I do not have a maid, but the RS president makes us lunch everyday. The food here is about the same, rice.
1. Coming to Bolivia. Santa Cruz is like Egypt. It is sandy, dusty, humid, hot with palm trees. When we were landing it looks kinda like Utah except there are trees. The airport is small and there are airplanes parked out in the fields. The bus we ride around in has doilies on the seats head rests so I felt like we were in a RS knitting club. The first few days we did a bunch a paperwork for immigration. They had to take our blood. The lady who did me sure did have a hard time because it took a few minutes and it felt like she was digging around in my arm with the needle. We also visited the Bolivian Interpol which is a run down shack on the corner of the street. President also took us out to dinner where we had every kind of meat, including horse and cow udder. The cars here are funny. If you want to turn right, honk your horn, If you want to turn left, honk your horn. If you don't want to stop at the stoplight, honk your horn and keep going. If you want to back up, honk your horn. If you like the music you are listening to, honk your horn. All the cars here are mostly from back  in the day with redneck modifications and sound like they are going to fall apart at any moment.  
2. My area. I am now in Bermejo. It is one of the farthest away area, I am basically on the Argentina border, which means I had to take two more plane rides (from Santa Cruz to Cochobomba to Tarija) and a 3 hour car ride through winding canyon with a driver going about 80 miles an hour, even around the corners. If there was anything in the way he would just honk or pass them, never slow down (and those obstacles include children). Made me sick. One of the airplane rides was pretty fun. The worst turbulence I have ever experienced. The whole plane was rocking and you had to hold your drink to avoid spilling and even then it was difficult to not spill. Airport do not have gates. Just get off the plane and walk into the airport. In Bermejo there are 4 branches. I am in the 15 of April branch. About 90 people attend each Sunday. It is also pretty jungley here. Most of what I see of Bolivia is more desert.  The people are pretty poor here too. Imagine the worst house in Brigham city and that is about the best house here. Most live tin house, or some sort of house that feels like our garage or shed. Most people here are vendors. Along the streets are storage shed things and everyday they open and bring out their stuff to sell. Most people live in them too. Some people sell toilet paper (about 3 sheets per use) and let people use the bathrooms. There are no public bathrooms. Also you cant flush the toilet paper you put it in the garbage can. Where I live, I live with members. The shower is always cold. But the members are super nice and they make us food sometimes.
3. My companion. Yes that is my companion in the picture and he is a nazi Latino. The most serious and disciplined missionary I have ever met. He rarely smiles unless we are with people and he like to look at me blankly and it makes me nervous. The hardest thing is that he walks at mach speed and I walk slowly. And so first day  he like You are wasting the time of the Lord, walk faster. So naturally me feet are now covered in blisters and we still speed walk everywhere, even in church he reprimanded me for that because I was talking too much with the members and not keeping up.  And when we study, I went over one minute for study and he likes at me and says it is late elder. But mostly he tells me that I need more agility, even when I get out of bed.  So this is boot camp and apparently he has been going easy on me. He tells me from now on we are going to work like black men. And we also don't eat dinner nor much for breakfast either.
4. Spanish. Besides other missionaries here, I am the only one here who speaks English. I was asking someone if they knew anyone else we could talk to and they said I don't speak English. So that is about how that goes but they usually understand.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Last Week of CCM

1. My Latino companion is pretty docile. Some of the Latinos are wild and crazy but mine is pretty calm. My Spanish comes along. There are always two versions of things said here. First what is a actually said and second what I interpret them to be saying which makes for some funny miscommunication. I am sending a picture of Elder Ramos (in the blue shirt) that is about the average height of Latinos.

2. Temple. Today and Tuesday we went to the temple. I know the dialogue all in Spanish now. It was funny doing it with my Latino. First he got some pants that were really tight, then the next pair he got was still too tight but he kept them anyway. Then he got the robe turned inside so then he had to get redressed. Then in the celestial room he snagged his clothing a chair handle and made a ruckus. Always an adventure. 

3. Proselyting. We went out for another few hours yesterday. We meet funny man. He kept asking me why I wasn't studying like Obama to be the next president. And then asked us if we had girlfriends, did whiskey, cocaine, or marijuana and that turned him off we we said we didn't. It was nice to have a Latino companion this time because most people here mumble and slur there words together. Also some countries have different accents. 

4. Fun facts about Bogata. Most stores here are about 15 by 10 feet big. There is no garbage dumpsters. People in green oompla loompa suits come pick them out of the baskets. Bogota has about 8 or 9 million people. Chebede means cool or fun. Pronounced Chay-bay-day said fast. 

5. I got the letter you sent yesterday. And i would hurry and get your pictures off the drive. If I remember right I think that I already backed up the pictures on to mine but I am not sure. 

6.  Yes that is a railroad going down the side of the mountain

7. Bolivia. There are some missionaries here from Bolivia. A couple from Santa Cruz even. They say that in the Santa Cruz north mission they eat monkeys. Others say that we will have to carry slingshots to keep the dogs always. And there are parrots, jaguars, and sloths. Sometimes the sloths fall out of the trees and do not move fast enough so they get hit by cars. And the geese ( which we had to figure what they were saying by talking about the geese on  Disney aristrocats) apparently have teeth. 



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CCM Week 4 and Bus Ride

1. Latino Companion. Today I am getting a Latino companion, he is from Peru and his name is Elder Ramos. I have not meet him yet. I am sending pictures of Elders in my last room. 

2.  Password. I figured out that you changed my password when I could not log in. I could not figure it out why it was not working for the longest time so I had to reset it. So hopefully I will get that letter before I leave.

3. Proselyting. We went for about 3 hours last week. We went to place that is project or ghetto. We met some fun people. One guy was an Evangelist who said amen and blessings about everything we said. Another guy gave us a 40 minute lesson about what he believed and her did not like the Book of Mormon until we explained that it doesn't replace the bible. He ended up taking a Book of Mormon. I got sunburned too while doing that. That is why my face looks red in some of the pictures.

4. Tour. Yesterday we went to the top of a mountain on a tram to a church. I think it was 10000 feet or something at the top. The bus we drive in pretty fun. Its one from the 70s or something and it is stick shift. We usually make 5 point turns we about 3 inches of clearance. I sent a picture of motorcycles driving and  stuff on the streets. Afterwards we went to Museum of Gold and people and we had to walked for a couple blocks. It was like a parade the way people were looking at us. Downtown Bogata is like Peach days except the traffic keeps going. There are lots of vendors on the streets people playing music and such. It weird to see the buildings. sometimes you will see building that are really nice and then you see buildings that are crumbling apart. The museum was interesting. It was a bunch of gold from the Mayans and stuff. Then we bought jerseys. If Justin wants one you have to tell me which one and I sure I will probably have another opportunity.

5. For that missionary night, the main thing is you know Preach My Gospel and the lessons and be able to explain them clearly.

6. Also time to start piortizing. If you want me to answer a question put it at the top in bold cause I only have time to skim through emails and I am going to send pictures emails to mother so it doesnt take long. Or if you want you can log in into email and make a group of some sort.

7. Wooden Nickels. yes the Latinos are crafty. they always want my ties, but they usually trade for something. Elder Ruiz about flipped out when I gave him a BYU shirt that was slightly small for me  for  a bag. That is the one I am wearing in the pictures. It is sad to see that some Latinos just show up with duffel bag with like minimal stuff. 

Emailing around here is funny. Yesterday we didn't have time because our tour went over time but it is usually pday or the day before or after. We just got another shipment of missionaries here. 3 from Mozambique Africa. There are tons here now including 20 hermanas compared to the usual six.