It was great to see you all yesterday. The people that have changed the most are Justin and Grandma Gilbert. I was sad to see that Grandma has really declined in her health. She looked a lot like Grandpa. And well, let´s just say Justin is entering into that awkward time between childhood and adulthood (and I just loved the special effects by the way, Justin).
This week I made a list of the things that I want to tell you about because I usually forget.
I am the first gringo companion for my companion. This is a little bit strange but, yes there are more Latinos in this mission than there are gringos. I would say about 60% are Latinos .
The big animals in the north would be things like crocodiles, anacondas, piranhas, jungle cats, poisonous frogs, and really big insects. They are found mostly in Beni and the Chupari.
Transfers are in two weeks. My companion will go home and I will likely receive a new one in my same area (3-4 transfers in one area is normal). Transfers are every Wevery 6 weeks. is the next and the next after will be .
As for that package, you can wait for the next week (give me some more time to think). But something that I thought of would a wrist watch that doesn´t have nickel.
Juan Vargas. He found the Church while living in Spain but this lead to a grand conversation about the water quality in Spain. Apparently the water comes from the ocean and has a lot of chlorine or something. Anyway he drank that water for six months and when he came back to Santa Cruz he started to have problems. Namely that what usually comes out of your bottom started coming out the front end. And he went to many doctors but nobody believed him until he showed to them. Then they hooked him up to a lot of machines for 6 months until that finally found out that the crapper had somehow melded with the bladder and for this he had problems. He even had the scars of right down the belly where they opened him up. And he blames it on the water that he drank in Spain. Never heard that before. He could possibly progress but likes to talk a lot.
Carla Leanos. She is a reference of a member and she is likely to be baptized. She is a single mom of 2 children and has had a hard life. She pretty funny, but fears that if she takes her children to church they will throw her out becuase they are trouble-makers.
Juan Carlos Rivero. He finished reading the Book of Mormon. Only took him four months to do it--put the rest a the people to shame who take 4 months to get past 2 Nefi. He likes the message but isn´t convinced that it is true because there is no real solid proof. Refuses to pray specifically if it is true. He Thinks he should only pray for wisdom and understanding. Interesting guy.
The Cruz Family. Aurelio is the recent convert and we are teaching his family to get them ready for baptism. Last week they got sick with chikagunya (pain in bones, joints, rash, fever). We gave blessings to all of them and they got better in 2 days. The wife, Marta, told us that she had a dream that she fell into a hole of mud and frogs and that a gringo angel came and saved and ever since that she has felt better.
As for the service for this week, we hauled dirt around (to put around a house so that the water wouldn´t enter). I also pushed our president of the quorum of elders in his wheelchair. Sometimes he likes to set appointments to go visit people but can´t get there by himself. So I ended up pushing him down a busy road of cars (speed walking of course so I wouldn't get ran over) And then navigating down sandy and rocky and muddy roads of Santa Cruz. What an adventure.
So the missionaries are coming over. Make sure to give them some authentic Bolivia Food and tell them is a balanced meal of grains, meat, fruits and vegetables and that it will slim them down a bit if they continue for about 6 months. Also ask them if what they do in an average day? How are their investigators progressing? How many lessons are they teaching with a member? Then offer to invite people over for a Family Home Evening and they can give the lesson. And then offer to accompany them to some of their appointments. And be sure to give them at least 10 references (to people who would like to hear, less actives etc). Their mouths will drop because they have never had so much to do in Utah.
After talking with you guys last night, the family offered to cook us some delicacies of the cow-including the heart and all other organs, and udder. They tell me it is sooo good. Guess I´ll have to try it, won´t I?
I am also sending a picture of a toberorchi. The traditional tree of Santa Cruz. There is a very interesting legend about them. And they just have the most beautiful flowers--Happy Mothers day. Tell me what you think when you read the legend.
I hoped you enjoyed this well-planned email and we talk to ya next week.