TRACI! T-KILLA! my wonderful cousin is home from her mission!!!! oh how i love you and oh how i need time to write you a long heartfelt mushy letter! youre pictures were so great and thank you for your email!!! <3
JACK! father of brad dredge! i got your message via my mom via email and i have one thing to say to you... SHRIIIIIIIIIMP!!
they really love their mayonaise here. they put it on about anything.
tito almohada (chocoalte) el mismo cereal de perù. go to your local winco and find it. :)
jello is a favorite dessert of lots here.
theyre building cement streets in some of our area! which is HUGE, i found out.
how they tar the streets here: they have a garbage can, they prop it over a fire on the side of the street, stir it, the hand drizzle it over the cracks in this containter thing. talk about hard work.
CANCHA. the biggest open market in south america, and its HERE IN BOLIVIA(continued, accidentally sent it). adriana joyner, you would LOVE it. :)
we were going to go today but didnt have time bc i had to track down a package......
*****WORD TO WHOEVER READS MY EMAILS, i will gladly take a package if you want to send me one but PLEASE make sure its LESS THAN 4.4 pounds and les than $100 (dont worry, reeses never cost $100). after what it took to get the package today, i just might donate your package to the bolivian correos.
my hair was soaked last week from the jungle so i just let it dry as we walked to noche de hogar.. the girls were literally climbing on my searching through my hair. "where are your braids?" they were literally confused. i always have braids haha
"do you have to have permission to bathe too?" -hno david "uhm, actually, yes.. we do"-hna ipanaquè (he was asking if we bathed in the river at the jungle, its a thing here. obviously the answer was no, mission rules.)
"at home, we are constantly changing the temperature in our homes to the temperature it is here. bolivia is perfect!" -bishop gary e stevenson
"elder." ...."i guess that doesnt really help, does it?" -elder david a bednar.
yes, that is right. you read it correctly. ELDER DAVID A BEDNAR.
saturday EVERY MISSIONARY in the cochabamba mission was flown in for the conference, that NEVER happens. but then again, neither does having a member of the pres of the 70 (elder ulisses soares) AND the pres of the area (elder juan a uceda) AND the bishop of the church (obispo gary e stevenson) AND an apostle (elder david a bednar) AND the mission president, AND their wives, all in one place for a private conference!! ive decided i really am the luckiest missionary in the world. i sat front row. i was five feet from all of them. it was amazing.
elder bednar talked about how DUMB it is to take notes on everything that is said, bc we never use the notes again. he challenged us to take notes on "small plates", and to record the things we heard that arent said (promptings of the spirit). none of the people listed above gave talks or speeches. the couples gave testimonies, and elder bednar led a discussion and answered questions at the end (along with the others). we had three talks we had studied before hand. one, ask in faith, was my favorite, look it up. that was the theme of the conference, asking and learning and praying in faith. meaning the intention to act. he said to not pray for "please bless those who arent here to be here next week" but to GO GET THEM. dont pray to "give me the goods", pray expecting to act. some quotes i liked from the conference..
"atonement is a big word, and hard to give a definition fof what it is. but the atonement is everything and maybe thats why its hard" sister stevenson
"the atonement isnt just the bad and hard things. it brings happiness to our lives and we need to REJOICE in it." sister stevenson
"atonement is the strengthening power that helps us do things we dont think we can do." sis bednar
"the younger we are the more we focus on the cleansing power of the atonement. it would be a good thing to study learn and understand the strengthening power" -elder bednar
*he then invited us, and i invite all of you, to mark in a paperback book of mormon everytime it mentions "in the strength of the lord" and write a one page paper on what we learned. then to repeat it. he promises the spirit will teach us in PERSONAL ways as we ask, seek, and knock (A.S.K.)
"we have agency for one reason: to CHOOSE GOD". -elder bednar
"sacrifice = consecration.. dont "give stuff". dont only be willing to "die for" the gospel. LIVE FOR IT. give all i am and try to become better." -elder bednar
"be a light in the darkness. cant do it alone. in strength of the lord, we can & we will." -elder bednar
"youll live them, not just know them" -elder bednar (things weve learned from seeking and asking for ourselves, not just getting an answer from someone else.)
one of the couples spoke about their disabled child and linked it with the atonement. it was beautiful, and so is what elder bednar said afterwards (ill give you one guess which 13year old boy was on my mind)
"they learned the strengthening power of the atonement. and submissiveness.. lessons learned with this child to prepare them and their family for eternity that they couldnt have learned in any other way... theyve done things they didnt think they could... the gospel doesnt make lives perfect and7or remove difficulties, it strengthens us to press forward with faith". <3
the conference was simple, strong, and powerful. some of the things i heard that werent said (minus the details that cant be shared)
Gods wants are more important than my wants.
hugs. theyre powerful, and through them is one way i can share my love with others.
im grateful for english as my native language, for more reasons than one.
elder bednar is an apostle, and should be respected, but he is also a real man. hes FUNNY! hes down to earth! hes a father, and a friend! it reminded me of president uchtdorf at the trujillo temple dedication. it also strengthened my testimony about jesus christ and heavenly father, and how REAL they are. <3
i need to keep the faith, keep acting, and ill find His will.
i was sitting 5 feet from elder bednar. he was asking if anyone had anything they wanted to share. i had something. and i was going to ask him something as well. he looked right at me, 3 different times, held my gaze, then called on other people. the spirit testified to me that i wasnt called on not because he didnt see me or what i had to say wasnt important, but that i needed to do more searching on my own to find out my answer. later in the conference some of my question was answered, but not all of it. this is a huge experience squished into three sentences, but i was not forgotten in that moment.
second most powerful experience was when elder bednar was leaving. i got choked up and tears came into my eyes and my heart felt broken. i was surprised how much it hurt for him to leave, and how much i wanted him to stay! my thoughts were led to the savior, and how hard it must have been for his disciples to watch him leave. my desire to live worthy to return to Him and my Father grew so much in that moment. the spirit whispered other things to my heart, but those are for my journal only. :)
the next day (sunday) we had a stake conference with obispo gary e stevenson. it was so wonderful. so simple and precious. his words were simple and powerful. i felt, again, the realness of heavenly father and of His love for me individually . one moment i felt this the most was when sister missionaries were mentioned, and president hansen looked right at me and smiled SO BIG, and the spirit hit me like a tidal wave that what im doing is exactly what heavenly father wants me to be doing, that Hes proud of me, and that He loves me. i got chills.
the bishop explained what the bishop of the church does. one of the things is help translate for the world. pom pei now has the BOM in their language. but:
"the people of pom pei micronesia (shoutout david T) had a testimony of the BOM before they even read it, just from hearing testimonies of it and the stories in it." how incredible is that?
"we (mormons) dont want to be different, but we are and its a blessing" sis stevenson
"this gospel can change lives and this is why we have it." -pres hansens daughter (possibly one of my favorite quotes)
"the lord may not take away all of our burdens but Hell listen and make them light (matt 11:28-30). go to the Lord. Pour out your heart. Even in the midst of your adversity, he´ll givve you peace." -bishop stevenson.
and how true is that?
another one of my promptings was to pray for my mission to be harder. yesterday... the hardness started. :) once upon a time my family and i had the 24 hour flu and i lost 18 pounds in 24 hours, thats how sick i was. yesterday i got sick out of nowhere. so sick that i, the workaholic, was forced to return to our casa and rest. my heart was broken. i cried for an hour. i wanted to work. i didnt want to be sick and unable to move. my heart hurt knowing there are people here who need my help and my love and i was unable to give it. BUT, the story gets better! stop worrying!
i woke up because my bed was shaking. it jerked me out of bed and i screamed. it wasnt a earthquake, it was THUNDER. tender mercies: there was a HUGE storm, with lightning & thunder that folowed exactly 3 seconds later for 10 seconds at a minimum. all of the missionaries had to return to their casas. there was acid rain. our citas, one who had a fecha and one who we were going t give a fecha, werent home. when i woke up, my sickness was pretty much gone i just felt empty. my prayers (and the prayers of others, i found out) were answered. i was shown so much LOVE. by my companion, by my pensionista and her family, the zone leaders, and the missionaries we eat with (hna cruz and silvano). and last but CERTAINLY not least, heavenly father. it ended up being a very strong spiritual experience and i definitely learned once again that the lord works in mysterious ways. (dont worry .the sun is back out and the sickness is gone.)
other blessings, really quick, bc im out of time
im able to be an example to other missionaries by following the rules. its hard not eating the bacon but its worth the health.
went to dinner with hno david and his wife hna ne linda, they paid, we had my favorite bolivian food (piquè), and found out he has a LDM! qwhat??! we talked about pretty much everything you can talk about relating to the church, they had lots of questions, we had lots of answers, were bringing them meet the mormons this week to watch as a family, and theyre coming t church next week. GOLD.
elder salas bought us a HUGE pizza for our last district meeting. look at the pictures, when i say huge i mean huge.
studying hope, atrribute of christ, for my 5 minute lesson. if youre having a hard day, study this. itll defintiely lift your spirit.
had a perfect study session of personal, companion, idioma, 12 semanas, all temprano and all super powerful!
after a really hard lesson , we went to visit a menos activo.. she wasnt home but her sister opened the door and literally launched herself into my arms, oh how i love them (same little girls who i sent pictures of braiding my hair a couple weeks back)
three diff investigators opened up to us about serious problems theyre having with the ley de castidad and family. so grateful they can trust us enought to tell us and believe that we can help them. and we can. and we will. <3
hermana ipanaquè and i fasted on thursday. let me just say, that if a missionary fasts for you, you better believe they love you and believe that their fast will bring the blessings theyre praying for bc it is not the easiest thing to go without food and water for 24 hours while walking miles a day. im not complaining, not at all, just painting the picture. hna arlete has a baptism date for saturday aug 29 but we dont have her parents permission and we need that to baptize her. my fast was specifically for her. well, sunday her mom came to the conference with the obispo de la iglesia (as well as her sister whos an antiguo investigador) and she met with pres hansen after and we have her permission!!!!!!!! ah. my heart literally couldnt have been happier! we still need the fathers permission, the days are coutning down, but i have the faith well recieve it. arlete literally has such a strong testimony and its my hearts desire for heavenly father to soften her fathers heart so that her desire to be baptized can become a reality.
i love it here!
i love all of you!
i love this work!
ps elder david a bednar talked about how strange it is to see so many 18 19 and 20 year olds in skirts and blouses and ties at this time of our lives. he then gave us His love, and the Prophets love, and the Lords love, for our service. <3
me and hna cruz! :)
ill let you guess how happy i was
some of my group after saturday's conference!
hno rider, the doppleganger of luke and the future member of la iglesia
our little group at watching meet the mormons
compañera bonding, we drank hot chocolate and watched the lightning.
so grateful for her love and tender care